4 min read

small dog Phovia treatment

Thor is a 12-year-old, castrated male, Havanese. Phovia, a noninvasive treatment for wounds, is bringing him relief after a 2-year search for solutions.

Thor was originally presented to me in December 2021 for further evaluation and care of a chronic, non-healing wound on his chin.

Prior to seeing me, Thor had undergone wide surgical excision with biopsy and culture performed by board certified surgeons. He had been treated appropriately with a myriad of both topical and systemic medications under the direction of specialists; however, despite aggressive therapy and excellent care by his owners, his wound persisted. When I saw Thor again in the fall of 2022, he continued to suffer with discomfort from his chronic wound. Two years of unsuccessful treatments left his owners and me unsure of next steps.

We agreed to try a novel therapy for cats and dogs with open sores called Phovia Fluorescent Light Therapy, one of the pet dermatology specialty services we offer at Mountain Star Veterinary Specialists. Mountain Star is seeing consistent success with Phovia, which heals wounds faster by promotion of all three phases of wound healing.

For light-based therapy to be efficacious, the light must be able to penetrate tissues. The most common light-based therapies available today can be characterized by their primary function of healing, these include 1) photothermal, 2) photomechanical, and 3) photochemical.

The advantage of Phovia over other light therapy solutions is that Phovia fluorescence-generating biomodulation system releases fluorescent light energy at multiple wavelengths, thereby simultaneously invoking multiple beneficial cellular responses at multiple skin layers. Traditional laser therapy systems are limited to a single wavelength, thus addressing, at most, a single layer of skin. The Phovia LED lamp in conjunction with the Phovia chromophore gel reduces inflammation and enhances collagen production leading to faster, and more complete, healing in pets.

What are the benefits of Phovia Fluorescent Light Therapy?

  1. Pain relief. Thor’s chronic wound caused him ongoing pain. His continued traumatizing of the lesion resulted in exacerbation of the sore, and required him to be confined to an Elizabethan collar. Improvement in the size and depth of his lesion was seen within the first 2 weeks of Phovia treatments. For pets suffering with acute or chronic wounds, this means less time in e-collars and bandages.
  2. Non-invasive. The process involves application of a gel placed onto the affected skin which is then exposed to the Phovia blue light emitting diode (LED) lamp for two minutes. There are no incisions, injections, or sedation. The applied gel (substrate) is not absorbed by the tissue nor does it produce heat. The pets feel the light’s warmth and are immediately discharged to the care of their owner when the 2 to 4 minute treatment ends. Most pet parents opt to have the treatments back-to-back at one visit.
  3. Easy for pets. Because Phovia is free from side effects and risks related to the use of therapeutic lasers, the treatment can be conducted with the owner to ease the pet’s stress associated with being separated. Some owners elect to not be present for the treatment, which is fine. At Mountain Star we emphasize fear free handling of pets, which means during the pet’s treatment they receive lots of high value treats and positive reinforcement.
  4. Easy for owners. There are no home follow-up tasks between treatments.
  5. A cheaper alternative to surgery. Thor’s chronic wound was painful. It was also expensive. Phovia costs $70 per treatment ($140 per week since dogs need 2 treatments per week).

An appropriate treatment plan will be made based on the pet’s condition. This will include assessment of the wound, its size, chronicity, and any underlying contributing factors. Some of these pets only require 1 to 3 visits to Mountain Star.

Note: Phovia is contraindicated for use on wounds due to neoplasia. 

Thor’s wound improved dramatically within 6 weeks and was healed at 3 months. It progressed from a 1.5 x 0.7cm full thickness ulcer to complete re-epithelialization. His chronic, multi-drug resistant bacterial infection has resolved, and at the time this article was written, a very mild superficial pyogranulomatous dermatitis remains and is well controlled with topical steroid. 

While it was a long road to recovery, we are thrilled to be able to restore Thor back to a level of comfort; now he can get back to the business of being a happy dog. 

Phovia Fluorescent Light Therapy has shown to be helpful in speeding the resolution of acute and chronic skin diseases including: chronic wounds, acute traumatic wounds, perianal fistulas, interdigital cysts/furunculosis, lick granulomas, pyoderma, and otitis externa. If you have questions about Phovia or have a case you feel may benefit from Phovia therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We truly appreciate your referrals. We’re here to support you, your clients, and your patients. We’re in this together.

For more information about ophthalmology and dermatology specialty treatments for cats and dogs in the Denver area, please call or email today.

Thor’s chronic wound caused him ongoing pain. Mountain Star’s use of the Phovia has brought this 12-year-old pup some relief.