- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

WHITEWATER, Wis. (AP) - Tracy Hansen was in tears last year when she took Grace, her 8-year-old Great Dane, to the Whitewater Animal Medical Center and Hospital.

Grace was knuckling -walking on the top of her toes instead of the pads of her paws - because of a pinched nerve in her back. The 124-pound dog was suffering from chronic arthritis and experiencing neck, back, hip and nerve pain.

Medication was prescribed but caused Grace to have an upset stomach and diarrhea.

Hansen was willing to try anything to get Grace some relief.

That’s when veterinary technician Tiffany Gretschmann recommended the clinic’s new drug-free, surgery-free and pain-free laser therapy.

It uses specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light that increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen and nutrients to a damaged area. This reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. The infrared laser light also interacts with cellular tissues increasing cellular function and health, according to a clinic brochure.

After Grace’s first treatment and by the time Hansen and her dog left the vet clinic, “she had a spring in her step,” Hansen said.

Grace underwent two more laser therapy sessions that week.

Afterward, “she was behaving and moving like a puppy again,” Hansen told The Janesville Gazette (http://bit.ly/1c1kFHA).

Since then, Grace returns for laser therapy as often as once a week or as needed when Hansen notices Grace struggling to get up or down.

“I can tell if she doesn’t come. It’s like getting revived,” Hansen said.

The Animal Medical Center and Hospital laser therapy equipment fits into a small carrying case.

“Every year, we like to include something new in the clinic and try and stay on top of the new stuff that comes out,” Gretschmann said.

Since then, it has been used at least once a day on a dog or cat and even once on a horse.

“Very rarely does it not come out of the box,” Gretschmann said.

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