Crane Medical Veterinary Laser Therapy – MY OWN BRIEF HISTORY WITH LASERS
I am an “older” vet with just over 34 years experience in mixed practice in a small rural town in NSW, and with a passion for promoting veterinary laser therapy. I started predominantly in dairy and beef cattle practice, but have gradually moved into a mainly small animal practice these days as the demographics have changed. Our practice now has 2 vets and 3+ nurses an we still see just about everything, and are still striving to improve our abilities any way we can as we follow Tom Hungerford’s “Goanna Track”.
As chief “Goanna” in our practice, I traveled to Washington DC in May 2012 to attend a veterinary conference. Whilst at that conference I was amazed to find the common usage of therapeutic lasers in veterinary practice. Apparently they have been used for over 10 years now in all facets of practice including small animal, equine and exotics. My only previous exposure to lasers was back in 2007 at the WSAVA conference in Sydney where an exhibitor had a very expensive CO2 surgical laser on show. I was completely ignorant of the therapeutic use of Class IV diode lasers.
So I gleaned as much information as I could over there from the 7 or so manufacturers and distributors, speakers and colleagues in practice who were regularly using them. Since returning I investigated lasers online, enrolled in the AIMLA (American Institute of Medical Laser Applications) course, attended a conference online, and have spent a lot of time investigating what constitutes a good laser machine. I have been aided in my endeavours by colleagues in the USA who have a wealth of experience both with laser units and their application.
Finally I was lucky enough to track down the manufacturer of pretty much the most versatile and powerful Class IV laser on the market. Gigaa Laser have been a pleasure to deal with, and even modified the GBOX 15A/B specifically for my requirements to create the GBOX 15AB. This unit is unique in offering a very high 15W output, switchable (810nm& 980nm dual wavelength), with both therapeutic and surgical capability. In June 2013 I visited the Wuhan Gigaa Optronics Technology Co., Ltd headquarters and factory in China. There I met the team, inspected the manufacturing plant and process, including quality control, and once satisfied I collected my own Gigaa Laser GBOX 15AB.
I have now used it in my own practice very successfully on some very difficult intractable cases, and am very excited about the potential of this device in my practice. I should note here that my staff and clients were somewhat dubious about the whole idea, but the results have spoken for themselves and they are all now completely sold on it. Subsequently, I have signed a distributor agreement with Wuhan Gigaa Optronics Technology Co., Ltd to be able to distribute their lasers units within Australia and New Zealand. This also involved negotiating extended warranty options and pricing structures not previously available anywhere else in the world.
Over the past 12 months Gigaa and I have expanded our range of veterinary lasers on offer to include the iPALM and the CHEESE II lasers. While not as powerful of versatile as the GBOX 15AB, they offer vets a more affordable entry point into veterinary laser therapy and laser surgery respectively. In past few months the CHEESE II has been accredited for use in laser therapy as well.
Whilst surgical lasers have a great place in veterinary surgery and dentistry, they are often used to do jobs we already do. They just do them better in many cases. A little like digital radiology compared to the old film technology. Therapeutic laser on the other hand brings a whole new treatment modality to veterinary practice, and consequently a new income stream. The only negative impact it may have on the income stream of a practice would be reduced sales of pharmaceuticals. Given the rise of online pharmacies and the likely impact that will have on veterinary incomes, I feel it is timely to aim to be less reliant on “drug sales”.
It is firmly my intention to only sell these veterinary laser units to registered veterinarians, and thus ensure the benefits of therapeutic laser therapy for animals remains with our profession. Therapeutic laser is virtually unknown to Australian vets with only a handful of practices with them, and even they are probably still not getting the best out of their units. To this end I would strongly encourage any vet considering entering the field of laser therapy or surgery to complete the AIMLA laser accreditation courses. Once done, you will be able to make informed decisions about which laser to acquire, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Mark Crane BVSc MANZCVS GradDip (AppSc – Wildlife Health & Population Management)
Crane Medical Pty Ltd & Bellingen Veterinary Hospital