A Brief Overview of Class IV Laser Therapy

Class IV laser therapy is the use of an intense beam of laser light directed into tissues to reduce pain, reduce inflammation and accelerate healing. Laser therapy is the result of electromagnetic energy interacting chemically and biologically with tissue causing “photobiostimulation” or “photobiomodulation.” The involvement of electromagnetic energy in biological processes is not a novel concept – it fills our environment as photosynthesis occurs in plants and literally surrounds us as Vitamin D is formed in our skin cells.

Class IV laser therapy uses a simple beam of light - monochromatic, coherent, collimated light – to penetrate deeply into tissues and produce positive tissue changes.

What Does “Class IV” Mean?

Lasers are classified based on their ability to do harm if used improperly. Class I and II lasers are very low power devices used in CD players, laser printers, grocery store scanners and bar code readers. Class III lasers are higher in power, but do not exceed 500 milliwatts (0.5 watt). Laser pointers are Class III, as are some medical devices. Some therapy lasers are Class IIIb.

Under 500mw in power, they are referred to as “low power”, “LLLT” (Low Level Laser Therapy) devices. They are applicable for treatment of superficial lesions and wounds only.

Class IV lasers – those over 500mw in power – are used in medicine and surgery, as well as in military and industrial applications.

Rebalancing Phase

  • Analgesic effect (pain relief)
  • Stimulate lymphatic drainage
  • Reduction of inflammation

rltvet 2Regeneration Phase

  • Cell cycle restoration
  • Conversion of fibrocytes to fibroblasts which remove and reduce scar tissue
  • Stimulate production of extracellular matrix
  • Stimulate production of collagen fibers and elastin
  • Recovery of elasticity

Rehabilitation Phase

  • Myorelaxation
  • Neovascularization
  • Physiological cell differentiation
  • Physiological spatial collagen realignment
  • Recovery of firmness and strength
  • Restoration of tissue to original condition

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Appropriate Applications

A therapy laser is appropriate for any inflammatory condition, pain, acute trauma and any chronic conditions which cause pain, stiffness, or scar tissue that results in a loss of mobility and lameness. Previously thought untreatable career ending injuries are being reversed; horses are healing faster and returning to training sooner.

  • Arthritis
  • Bone Spavin
  • Bowed Tendons
  • Bucked Shins
  • Capped Hocks
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Carpitis
  • Cervical Musculature
  • DDFT
  • Desmitis
  • Epiphysitis
  • Extertional Rhabdomyolysis
  • Fractures
  • Hydroma of the Elbow
  • Inferior Check Ligament Desmitis
  • Laminitis
  • Myositis
  • Navicular Syndrome
  • Neck, Back and Vertebral Column
  • Osselets
  • Ringbone
  • SDFT
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Sesamoids
  • Splints
  • Stifle Disorders
  • Stringhalt
  • Subchondral Bone Cysts
  • Subluxations of the Sacroiliac Joint
  • Superior Check Ligament Strain
  • Suspensory Disorders
  • Suspensory Ligaments
  • Tarsal Plantar Desmitis (Curb)
  • Tarsitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Tendosynovitis
  • Thoracolumbar Musculature
  • Thoroughpin
  • Trochanteric Busitis

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Vet-Stem Regenerative Cell Therapy

Used For: Treatment of Tendons, Ligaments and Joints

What Are They?

Stem cells that can become may types of tissue including tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone. They are cells that produce growth factors and new blood vessels that help promote regeneration and cells that help reduce inflammation.

The cells are isolated from a small sample of your horse’s own fat and delivered back to your veterinarian for injection in 48 hours. Risk of reaction is greatly reduced because the cells come from your horse and are not modified, cultured or engineered in any way.

The Process

A small sample of fat is collected from your horse and shipped overnight to Vet-Stem. Fat is usually taken from two areas on the horse’s buttocks. Vet-Stem isolates the Regenerative Cells from the fat and ships them back to the clinic overnight. We then inject the patient with the Regenerative Cells that were processed from the patient’s own fat.

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Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP)

Used For: Joint Lameness, Tendon and Ligament Injuries and Muscle Injuries

This therapy utilizes the patient’s own blood and natural therapeutic mechanisms. The IRAP syringe contains glass beads that stimulate the white blood cells to produce autologous conditioned serum (ACS), which contains beneficial anti-inflammatory and regenerative cytokines. The whole blood is incubated overnight and then centrifuged to collect serum. The serum produced is then re-injected into the patient.

The Science Behind It

Defects in articular cartilage can induce osteoarthritis by causing molecular changes in the synovial fluid. Research in molecular biology discovered the major inducer of osteoarthritis was the general inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1) which plays a key role in accelerating tissue destruction and the repair mechanisms.

In a healthy joint, the IL-1 and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1 Ra) are in balanced concentrations. In cases of osteoarthritis, there is not sufficient IL-1 Ra produced to block the destructive effects of the increased IL-1. The result is inflammation, joint pain and eventually cartilage destruction.

In the Arthrex IRAP II, monocytes (a type of white blood cell) bind to the glass beads. The cells are then stimulated to produce regenerative and anti-inflammatory proteins without the addition of drugs. This process takes place over an incubation period of 24 hours.


  • Figure A – In osteoarthritis, IL-1 is produced in large amounts and binds to receptor sites on the cartilage signaling cell destruction.
  • Figure B – In the Arthrex IRAP II System, monocytes bind to the beads stimulating the regenerative and anti-inflammatory proteins during incubation.
  • Figure C – Introduction of IRAP II serum into the joint.
  • Figure D – The IRAP II serum has high concentrations of regenerative and inhibitory proteins that block the effects of destructive proteins like IL-1, by filling the receptors on the cartilage with IL-1 Ra.


During the IRAP II process, 50 ml of blood is harvested into a syringe and transferred into the Arthrex IRAP II device. The harvested blood is incubated for 24 hours to increase anti-inflammatory and regenerative protein concentration levels.

After incubation, the IRAP II device is placed into a centrifuge to separate the serum from the blood. The serum is extracted and may be placed into syringes or ampoules for immediate use, or frozen for later use.

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For more information on the Arthrex IRAP II System visit

VersaTron Shockwave Treatment

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Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment used in the healing of orthopedic and soft tissue injuries. Shockwaves are high-energy, focused sound waves which are transmitted to the affected body part and can reach areas several inches below the patient’s skin. Shockwave treatment is recommended for the management of a variety of musculoskeletal disorders that cause chronic pain and lameness in horses. A significant improvement is achieved in a majority of cases.

These improvements show within days to weeks, depending on the underlying condition. Frequently, positive results are obtained in cases where conventional methods failed. In some cases, it is necessary to repeat treatment several times.

Potential therapeutic uses for shockwave therapy:

  • Ligaments: insertions and desmitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Splint bone: fractures and perostitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Bone spavin
  • Navicular syndrome
  • Back problems including "kissing spines"
  • Joint conditions

How does treatment occur?

Treatment occurs on an outpatient or farm call basis. Often the treatment is done under a light sedation with the horse standing, and takes 10 to 15 minutes. With most conditions we recommend repeating the treatment every 2 weeks for a total of 3 to 4 treatments.

Shock wave therapy is not a universal remedy for every orthopedic or soft tissue condition. It is most effective when used in conjunction with other treatments including medical treatment, corrective surgery or shoeing, and rehabilitation.

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Get in touch

Contact us

O: (352) 873-7830
F: (352) 873-7700


Visit us

Equine Medical Center of Ocala
7107 West Hwy 326
Ocala, Florida 34482


Office hours

Mon - Fri (7:30am - 5:30pm)
Saturday (8:00am - 12:00pm) February to June
Closed on Sunday

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