We purchased our therapeutic laser machine a little over four years ago and in that time, we’ve collected four times the cost of the machine in direct fees. The money earned from the fees pays for costs related to the machine purchase and for staff time involved in performing the treatments. In addition to the direct return on our investment, having a therapeutic laser has also brought many other positive effects to our practice, income, reputation—and patients.
> Better outcomes. We use our therapeutic laser as a part of all spay, neuter and declaw surgeries and on most incisions. We do a lot of fracture repair and other orthopedic procedures, including bone plating, coxofemoral luxations, patella luxations and ACL repairs. All orthopedic surgery patients receive multiple treatments on affected areas during their recovery stay. We feel this adds to the patient’s early use of the area and shorter recovery times—and it’s popular with our clients who perceive the extra value.
> Improved pain management. The amount of pain a pet may experience during or after a procedure is of paramount concern. We point to our investment in laser therapy as part of a larger commitment to multimodal pain management and patient comfort.
> Keep up with technology. The fact that we use therapeutic laser treatments on our patients every day is congruent with our practice philosophy. It shows that we not only “talk a good game” but that we also follow up with financial investment and staff training. This reinforces the fact that we are staying abreast of current trends and best practices—and helps our clients’ perception of value.
> Boost in staff morale. Our staff takes pride in our capabilities and shares our dedication to provide great value and successful outcomes. Operating a therapeutic laser machine doesn’t have much of a learning curve, but it’s something “high-tech” that staff members can readily do to improve the comfort and recovery time of our patients—and that’s worth it. We want our staff to believe in us and we’re obligated to give them a good reason to.
> Adjunct to acupuncture. We see a lot of patients with paresis and paralysis due to intervertebral disk disease, but we were having mixed success using only western treatment methods. We had begun to branch into surgical intervention when my wife and partner became certified in acupuncture at the Chi Institute. Now that we’ve added acupuncture and laser therapy to our treatment regimens, our success rate is greatly enhanced for most of these patients—without surgery.
Jim Kramer, DVM, CVPM, is a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and a partner at Columbus Animal Hospital in Columbus, Neb.