Vet-turned-entrepreneur loans laser to treat horses hurt in fire

12:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2016 – When a horrific barn fire killed 12 horses and injured several others at the South Florida Trotting Center in Lake Worth on March 16, the community rallied around owner Sam Stathis and the rest of the trainers and owners.

Mike Carter, one of the hosts of an online radio show about harness racing called Post Time with Mike and Mike, started a gofundme page (www.gofundme.com/SouthFLTrainingCtr) which has raised over $46,000 to help with recovery and veterinary expenses.

Local entrepreneur, retired veterinarian Dr. Bruce Coren, donated the unlimited use of one of his high-powered Diowave IV Therapeutic lasers to treat the surviving horses. Laser therapy stimulates stem cell production and blood flow, helping burns heal much faster than they would on their own. Coren trained the staff at the SFTC how to use the laser, and will let them keep the $43,000 piece of equipment as long as it takes for the horses to heal.

“The laser accelerates the body’s ability to heal,” Coren said. “It stimulates blood flow and collagen production, which are necessary for wound healing and growth of new tissue. It opens up lymphatic channels so it reduces swelling, suppresses pain receptors and activates stem cells. The laser energy penetrates the body similarly to X-rays or microwaves or the sun’s rays.”

Coren discovered the potential of laser therapy in 2001. He retired from his small animal veterinary practice in West Palm Beach in 2003 to start Technological Medical Advancements, LLC. Coren said most lasers are just 15 or 30 watts. His laser is 60 watts, allowing the beam of concentrated light to penetrate deeper into the tissue.

“I formed the laser company with a biomedical engineer,” he said. “We got the first FDA clearance to bring a high-powered laser into human medicine in the United States. There are other companies that do what we do, but none with the higher power output and intensity of the lasers we market.”

Janus Marquis, the physiotherapist for the United States Show Jumping Team, uses lasers to treat the horses in her care. She called Coren after hearing about the two-alarm fire.

“She called me and asked what we could do to help,” Coren said. “I suggested that we put a laser at the Trotting Center and train them how to use it. It took just a few minutes to train the staff. I set the parameters of how long and how much to treat each horse based on the size of the injury. The burns were pretty nasty, but the laser is definitely integral in the healing process and it will get the horses back faster.”

Coren also treats professional athletes, military personnel and veterans with the laser. Typical treatments cost $50 to $100 per session for a small area. The extensive wounds suffered by the horses would have cost thousands to treat.

“I’m thinking they will need the laser for a couple more months,” Coren said. “I go out there every once in a while to see how they’re doing. The laser can stay there as long as they need it.”

Amy Bower Doucette writes about the equestrian communities for Neighborhood Post. Send mail to 2751 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Call 561-820-4763, fax 561-837-8320. neighborhood@pbpost.com

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