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Local veterinary clinic sets its lasers to heal

Dr. Jamie Levine and Dr. Kathryn Arbic at the Cranbrook Veterinary Hospital.   - Arne Petryshen photo
Dr. Jamie Levine and Dr. Kathryn Arbic at the Cranbrook Veterinary Hospital.
— image credit: Arne Petryshen photo

For almost 20 years the Cranbrook Veterinary Hospital has been treating furry felines and canines in the community, and recently it acquired a new treatment technique – therapeutic laser.

Dr. Jamie Levine, who together with Dr. Bob Clark, runs the clinic, said the technology is a relatively recent addition to the veterinary industry.

"This is a technology that I heard about a year ago," Dr. Levine said. "It's a near infrared laser, so it's just past the visible wavelengths. It goes deep into tissue. It reduces inflammation, reduces pain, enhances healing."

Levine said at first he was skeptical, but found the science behind it sound. The laser therapy increases cell metabolism, increases blood flow and decreases pain. And though it doesn't work for everything, he has found it to be quite effective.

The treatment is usually administered two or three times a few days apart for the best benefits, said Dr. Levine.

Similar treatments are available to humans at some chiropractors and dentists.

The clinic is the first one in Cranbrook to delve into the technology.

Levine said a lot of other procedures take place there as well, such as X-ray, surgeries and ultrasound.

"One thing I think the public is unaware of is what happens behind the area that you don't see," he said. "Actually there are all kinds of things. That's why I like to include the owners in a lot of the procedures that we do, so they have an appreciation for what goes on."

He often has owners stand by while they do procedures like looking for abdominal masses or stones in the bladder.

The clinic also does dentistry. Levine said dentistry in animals is under appreciated, but problems in the mouth can be hard on organs and cause pain in general.

They also have a digital X-ray machine that takes photos like a digital camera does and provides the technician with instant results.

“We can send the photos off to specialists and have a lot more remote telemedicine to get answers on things we’re not sure about,” he said.

He said the services offered in veterinary medicine today are vastly different than the James Harriet style, one-man vet of the past.

“There is a lot of technology, a lot of staff and a lot of education that’s constantly being required,” he said.

The clinic only works on dogs and cats, which Levine says keeps them so busy that’s all they can focus on.

“There are enough weird things in dogs and cats that it keeps us challenged,” he said. “We see issues very similar to people can have a lot of times: diabetes, irritable bowel problems, pancreatitis, bone issues, knees going out, thigh problems, dental issues… the list goes on.”

The Cranbrook Veterinary Hospital was started in 1994 by Dr. Levine and Dr. Clark. Recently, Dr. Kathryn Arbic has joined the team. Arbic recently moved from Prince George.

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