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Mona Boord, DVM:
About the early 90s when I got into dermatology, laser became available, and so I jumped into learning about lasers and how they could improve the quality of life for patients.
People will go to the grocery store and lasers are used to scan the barcodes. But in the medical field, there's many surgeries that you can do with the laser that would be very, very difficult to do with a scalpel. Some clients want to understand how lasers work and why it would be important to use a laser to perform a surgery on their animal. I use the CO2 laser in my practice, mainly because it provides a very clean surgical field with decreased bleeding. And, when the animals are waking up from these procedures, they are a lot less painful.
The benefit of the laser for dermatology is that we'll see patients that have multiple lesions. To do a surgery and actually cut each one of those out and suture each one of those closed when they have a hundred of them, can take hours. With a CO2 laser, we can anesthetize them and I can use the laser to undermine and cut those out in a 30 minute procedure. They can go home the same day; they don't have to spend the night in the hospital. Their healing is very quick and very cosmetic. In America, we have a lot of overweight animals and they're bearing a lot of weight on their feet and they start getting these interdigital cysts. Many of these patients, they go on antibiotics and a steroid, and it might work at first, but then it becomes a recurrent or a persistent problem. Sometimes we recommend laser surgery. So, instead of having to deal with multiple medical treatments over and over, we can surgically remove the cyst that's in between their toes. They go through a period of a week or two of bandaging, and then that area is healed and it doesn't continue to be a recurrent problem.