Cast a wider net with tools to ease feline pain


Veterinary pain management expert Dr. Jennifer Johnson offers reasons to consider pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, especially in your painful feline patients.

Andrea Lolli Web/

The veterinary industry has been touting laser therapy for years. According to Jennifer Johnson, VMD, CVPP, and current president of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAMPM), there is one main drawback: treatment requires a skilled applicator, usually in the hospital.

At a recent Fetch dvm360 session on tools for managing feline pain, Dr. Johnson recognizes the love for laser therapy. While the vast majority of patients tolerate and even appear to love and appreciate their therapy laser session, she notes, it can be difficult for clients to comply with follow-up treatments.

And in the case of cats? As you know, even with follow-up appointments in general veterinary practice-many cat-owning clients will opt out of repeated visits to your veterinary hospital.

Here's where another option comes in. According to Dr. Johnson, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy may provide a pain-relief modality that can work synergistically with laser therapy, providing pain relief to your patients at home, in a portable and safe fashion.

PEMF is a non-invasive treatment that applies pulsed, non-thermal, electromagnetic fields to tissue in order to promote healing. These devices are approved by the FDA to treat fractures, post-operative pain and edema, osteoarthritis and plantar fasciitis. The mechanism of action shows that targeted PEMF results in increased concentrations of nitric oxide, which increases vasodilation and decreases inflammation.1,2

Dr. Johnson also places emphasis on the cat-friendly application of PEMF. The device can be prescribed to the veterinary client for use on the patient at home, where treatment applications can be performed, without stress, multiple times daily as prescribed. She pointed to the Assisi Loop system, which comes in two sizes with a unique loop construction, allowing it to be fastened to a bandage or wrap (Loop-Aid) to stay in place over the treatment area, even if the patient is moving about.

The therapy can penetrate through bedding, bandages and wraps, allowing various manipulations for successful application. Most successful feline applications can be accomplished using a bed or carrier with the loop, so that the dose can be applied to the target tissue as effectively as possible (learn more about the Assisi products here).


1. Iannitti T, Fistetto G, Esposito A, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy for management of osteoarthritis-related pain, stiffness and physical function: clinical experience in the elderly. Clin Interv Aging 2013;8:1289–1293.

2. Bragin D, Bragina O, Statom G, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) improves microcirculation and reduces hypoxia and neuronal death in a hypertensive rat brain. Clin Neurophysiol 2017;128(3):e161.

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