We didn't decide lightly that our rabbit should be repeatedly zapped with a laser. We had given it a try, a few months ago, when the vet's office wa testing out a ``cold laser'' machine. It's supposed to help animals with joint pain by somehow ... they're not precisely sure ... but maybe stimulating blood flow and ... doing ... something. Evidence for it working is not unambiguous. There's no clear theory why it should work. But it also seems like it couldn't really hurt. And with our pet rabbit getting stiffer and clumsier from his arthritis it seemed worth trying.
The veterinarian's office bought the cold laser. We signed him up for a six-treatment course to see if it made any difference. The first didn't seem to make much difference. After the second time, two days later, he was even in lousy shape, with his right leg giving out under him. We were worried about leaving him alone the following day, when we played the Blind Squirrel League season. But he recovered and got back to about normal. He'd be fairly weak at the end of the course, too, after a time when he had laser treatments on Tuesday and Thursday. Apparently a one-day gap is too little.
The treatments don't seem too stressful in themselves. He has to sit, sprawled out on a table, while a device about the size of a regular old hammer is put up to his spine. It shines light through his skin a while and then the technician goes to the next spot, while cooing about how wonderfully he's behaving and how he's adorable and all that.
Is it working? Well, he did manage to hop into his hutch, a jump he hadn't been making before. And yesterday --- the first of a new round of treatments --- he hopped across the smooth tile floor of the vet's without slipping at all, something new. Proof that the technique works? I don't know. It might be that he's just feeling better because he's getting a lot of attention and some change of scenery and, often, people cooing and cheering about how cute he is at the office. Measurement of this sort of thing is hard.
What I can say is that his fur is looking much better. I credit his being brushed back and forth for a half-hour or so, twice a week, for weeks. It gets all the loose hair and plugs and other unattractive bits groomed out.
But as said we're trying out a second round of sessions. We're trying to step it down to one treatment a week, and see if he stays energetic and strong with less close care. I hope so. We can take a reasonable amount of time and money to put into his quality of life.
Trivia: The angled corner in the western border of Arkansas is a point on the Arkansas river set, per an 1824 treaty with the Choctaw, 100 paces west of the southwest corner of the main garrison at Fort Smith. South of that the border extends due south to the Red River; north of that the border runs straight to the southwest corner of Missouri. Source: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein.
Currently Reading: Machines and Morality: The 1850s, Robert Sobel.