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Palm Beach Zoo using cold laser therapy on animals with arthritis

More than 30 animals treated with unique therapy
Cold laser therapy used on macaw at Palm Beach Zoo
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 20:26:20-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Friday was laser day at the Palm Beach Zoo.

Experts were busy using cold laser therapy to help treat animals with arthritis.

Among those getting treatment was 12-year-old Kada, a Malayan tiger.

Dr. Kathy Woodie introduced the therapy at the zoo recently.

Dr. Kathy Woodie, director of animal care at the Palm Beach Zoo
Dr. Kathy Woodie explains how the cold-laser therapy helps the animals.

"The idea of using actual laser light to give his body energy to heal. Because instead of just managing chronic diseases, we want to try and help him feel comfortable but also potentially allow his body to heal, and this is a method that we can do that," Woodie.

Woodie selects the animals that need medical care and would benefit from the therapy. She said the animals are positively reinforced by the idea of being treated.

Gracyn Davis, a zoologist in the carnivore department
Gracyn Davis says the treatment has helped a variety of animals at the zoo.

"It's teeny tiny baby steps, so you cannot create behaviors to fit the needs that we have based on veterinary care based on our night houses. It honestly allows our animals to take an active role in their health and welfare which is really awesome," said Gracyn Davis, a zoologist in the carnivore department.

At any given time, there are more than 30 animals that are treated with the type of therapy.

"It's fantastic. We've seen so much improvement in so many different species," Davis said.

"This is kind of innovative in terms of figuring out how to make an animal comfortable with a new treatment and to keep pushing the envelope so that we have the animals under our care receiving the absolute best medical care," Woodie said.