Cold laser therapy offered at Kiel Vet
By Mary Matsumoto
Mona does not seem to have any problem with the cold laser therapy being administered by Tracy Firgens at Kiel Veterinary Clinic.

When an animal needs outside care, Kiel Veterinary Clinic will do what it takes to make sure your pet gets the attention it needs, whether that involves grooming or emergency surgery.

The good news is, they offer it all.

New to their lineup of services is cold laser therapy. The therapy has been available at the clinic for several months but has been gaining popularity in veterinary medicine for reducing pain and inflammation of wounds and injuries as well as helping chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Take the dog that was brought in after a vicious attack. He had multiple bite wounds over his neck and back and required emergency surgery. Unfortunately, the tissue had been so damaged that about half of the wounds opened up again. Under other circumstances, the situation would have been critical.

At the Kiel clinic, however, the doctors used cold laser therapy, and the wounds healed up nicely. In fact, the dog actually enjoyed the treatments. Today, he is doing fine.

Increases blood flow

Laser therapy increases blood flow to the treated area, decreasing inflammation and pain and helping to shorten healing time. On a cellular level it draws cytokines (healing factors) to the area and helps release endorphins, which reduces pain.

Veterinarians have also had success with arthritis in animal patients using the laser therapy.

In the winter, our pets suffer from the same aches and pains that we do. This can show up as stiffness getting up, difficulty with stairs or even limping. An X-ray will localize the arthritis so the laser therapy can be targeted at the correct joint. With regular laser treatments, animals have made marked improvements, reducing the need for pain medications.

Cats can also benefit from laser therapy. Several cats with chronic sinus infections have been treated with the new laser to good effect, greatly decreasing the sneezing and thick nasal secretions. Another condition with few treatment options is idiopathic cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder, which causes bloody urine. The laser works to reduce pain and inflammation that causes cats to urinate outside the litter box.

Many services offered

Besides laser therapy, Kiel Veterinary Clinic also offers many other services other clinics do not. One such service is dental care.

During annual checkups, Dr. Jeffrey Schuette said he often points out to an owner their pet needs dental attention. The owner is sometimes surprised to hear that such treatment is offered right there on the premises. Dental cleaning and extractions are performed under anesthesia, then followed by polishing— just like at the dentist!

If an animal’s teeth do not receive the proper attention when needed, the problem can spread to other areas, causing more serious problems. Gums can become infected and painful, for instance. The animal might lose its teeth, creating a problem with eating. Or, because of the bacterial population, the skin around the mouth might become infected. Ultimately, the bacterial infection can become blood borne and spread to heart valves, kidneys, liver, or joints to cause further problems.

“After the dental work’s done, the animal may become much more active and energetic,” Dr. Schuette said. “The owner doesn’t realize how the teeth were affecting the animal until after the procedure is done.”

In addition to laser therapy and dental work, the clinic also offers services which run the gamut from grooming and behavioral therapy to nutrition. A pet owner can schedule a consultation for these services.

In fact, if these services are not enough, an animal chiropractor, Dr. Sara Gilbertson, comes in weekly to attend to appointments as well.

“It gives people an alternative to medication,” Dr. Schuette said. “And it fits nicely with the laser therapy.”

24-hour emergency service

And when it comes to emergencies, Kiel Veterinary Clinic offers a 24-hour emergency service. Customers can call in and the veterinarian will be paged and return the call within 30 minutes. Not every clinic offers that service.

The clinic also stays open until 8 p. m. on Tuesdays and from 7 a. m. to 2 p. m. on Saturdays to accommodate people who work during the week.

Eight months ago, a new doctor joined the clinic’s staff—Dr. Patrick Murack.

Dr. Murack comes from Waukesha before doing his undergraduate work at Eau Claire and veterinary schooling in Madison. When he had the opportunity to spend time in a veterinary clinic during middle school, he realized he “felt right at home.” Then, when he actually worked in a clinic during his high school years. he knew for certain that this is what he wanted to do.

Before pursuing his career, he experienced the sometimes hectic routine a veterinarian is exposed to and decided he could handle it. He saw the good, the bad, and the ugly—times when animals are cured and times when they aren’t. He remembers the hardest experience he had in those early years. A Labrador puppy had been hit by a car—and didn’t make it.

But since coming to Kiel, he’s also seen the good to great experiences. Like a dog that came into the clinic unable to walk. It had a condition known as eclampsia or low calcium after pregnancy. Two hours later, however, the dog waltzed out of the door, just fine. Dr. Murack has handled dogs from senior animals to puppies. In fact, one puppy was born on his shift.

The owner of the mother dog called in to say that the mother had one puppy but was having trouble with the remaining one.

“Bring her in,” said Dr. Murack. “We’ll take a look.”

“When the dog came in, I went back there to take a look, and all of a sudden, a puppy was coming out. Good news all around. And the puppy is doing great.”

Most of a veterinarian’s work is less dramatic—routine things, like annual exams and vaccines. Routine, but necessary, nonetheless. He checks for lumps and bumps, making sure the heart and

Mary Matsumoto photo

lungs sound OK and that there aren’t any masses or pain.

Sometimes, however, he does find a mass. And sometimes the mass is something that has to be removed. First come the X-rays, maybe ultrasound, to know where the mass is and more about the nature of it.

When Dr. Murack was a child, he remembers vividly being called home from school early because the family dog that had been suffering from a cancerous tumor for a year was lying in the backyard, responsive but not moving. His parents had to bring it in to be put to sleep.

“Cancer treatments have come a long way in the past five to 10 years,” he said. “They do have really good results depending on what the tumor is and what the cancer type is.”

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