VCA Healthy PAWS Medical Center

NEW Therapy Laser!

We are thrilled to announce that we have added therapy laser treatments to our pain control arsenal.  

Previously referred to as “Cold Laser Therapy”, we have a Class IV Therapy Laser, the same unit that is used in human medicine. We have just begun using this unit and have seen dramatic benefits. Some of our staff has used a similar unit at another VCA hospital and have a high degree of faith in the medicine and in the benefits for this therapy.

Our Companion Laser is an FDA approved Class IV Therapy Laser. Laser therapy has been credited with many important beneficial effects in human medicine and with the laser treatment protocols for veterinary use, we have seen remarkable results in wound healing, pain management and rehabilitation after surgery. We have treated chronic ear infections, lick granulomas, gingivitis/stomatitis, granulating wounds and all manner of lacerations and incisions. Pain and mobility constraints from osteoarthritis, age related aches and sports injuries also benefit greatly from a series of Laser treatments.

One of the first lasers that came out for use with companion animals described the effects and guides Veterinarians in the use of the technology. “During Laser Therapy, the infrared laser light interaction with tissues at the cellular level, and metabolic activity increases within the cell, improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the release of nitric oxide that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health.”

In plain language this means that, the painless application of the Laser therapy increases circulation and helps the cells and then the tissue in the damaged areas function more efficiently. This increased activity allows healing to take place and to happen faster than without therapy. Inflammation, swelling, stiffness and pain are relieved as the cells, tissue and entire area is treated.

In the February 2011 Veterinary Practice News, David Bradley DVM writes:

“Laser Therapy works by a wavelength-specific form of photobiomodulation. Laser light in the red and near-infrared range is absorbed by specific chromophores in the body (cytochrome C oxidase/hemoglobin/water) and this has a positive effect on specific biological reactions. This photochemical reaction increases blood flow to tissue, stimulates the release of O2 from the hemoglobin delivered and enhances the conversion of O2 to useful energy by cytochrome C oxidase in the production of ATP. …The clinical results of these cellular reactions are:

* Accelerated tissue repair and growth * Faster wound healing
* Analgesia * Decreased inflammation
* Angiogenesis * Vasodilation
* Improved lymphatic drainage * Decreased fibrosis
* Improved nerve function, axonal regeneration, neurologic repair
* Immunoregulation/immunomodulation 

See entire article in Veterinary Practice News, February 2011, page 24.

At VCA Healthy Paws, we will schedule a series of Laser treatments for any chronic arthritis pain or any acute injury sites. In the case of any surgery or laceration repair or dental extractions, the first treatment happens before the pet wakes from anesthesia.and thereafter twice a week to complete the package of ten treatments. Most pets respond so quickly that one package is sufficient to offer them significant relief.

For chronic conditions, some pets are maintained on once or twice weekly treatments for long term or chronic pain in joints or spinal discomfort, for example. Other conditions that we routinely treat with the Laser are lick granulomas, dermatitis, otitis, fractures, sprains, strains, lacerations, surgical incisions and bruises.

There is no sedation or even restraint needed to administer the Laser Therapy to pets. There is no pain or discomfort from the therapy itself and many pets begin to look forward to the treatment as they recognize that it makes them feel better. Pets with dark hair coats may have the area to be treated moistened with water to prevent any feeling of heat from the laser. A dark fur or dark pigment to the skin may absorb more energy from the laser and moistening the area prevents any unnecessary warming. Most pets feel a mild, soothing warmth only and they tend to lean into the treatment as they find the sensation pleasant.

We have seen dramatic responses from using this new and exciting therapy and welcome any questions you may have. We hope to offer these treatments to your pets and work together to expand the use of Laser Therapy in our region.

Thank you,

Andrea Ballou, DVM 


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Emergency Care

At VCA Healthy PAWS Medical Center, we understand how frightening and stressful it can be when your pet requires emergency medical attention. If your pet has a medical emergency during business hours, please bring them in right away. You do not need an appointment and your pet will be triaged immediately. It is helpful if you call to notify us that you are on your way so that we can prepare the supplies needed for your pet's care.

If your pet has a medical emergency after hours, please contact one of the Veterinary Emergency facilities below.

VCA South Paws in Fairfax, VA 703-752-9100

The Life Center in Leesburg, VA 703-777-5755

Prince William Emergency in Manassas, VA 703-361-8287

VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital in Alexandria, VA 703-751-2022