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A high-tech medical laser has helped a baby zebra get back on his feet.

When Paignton Zoo’s zebra foal - named Zac - scraped the backs of his legs, vets turned to Omega Laser Systems for help. Paignton Zoo’s Head of Veterinary Services Ghislaine Sayers said: “We are not sure how he did it, but it was over a joint and because the skin is constantly being stretched here, wounds take longer to heal.

“The body’s cells respond to light. The low level laser feeds the cells energy in the form of light at specific wavelengths, which in turn speeds up natural healing. There are no drugs involved and it is non-invasive.”

The Paignton Zoo vet team contacted Omega, based in Essex, after reading about laser therapy. Developed for the medical field, it is especially good for joint areas where there is regular or constant movement. It has been widely used on horses and other animals, however, this is the first time that Omega have worked with a zoo.

Janet Lloyd-Jones, an equine laser therapist who works with Omega, explained the benefits of laser therapy: “It kills off infection in flesh and bone, gives pain relief, stimulates the immune system and strengthens tissue, which results in better healing with more tissue elasticity and less scarring.”

Ghislaine: “Laser therapy uses a ‘cold’ laser - it is not a cutting laser, it stimulates a chemical not a thermal response. The beam has pin-point accuracy. We used it when we changed Zac’s dressings. It is a small, hand-held device - we simply held it in close contact to the leg for up to a minute at a time. It’s amazing!”

Zac can now be seen out in the main zebra paddock with his mother. He no longer needs bandages on his legs and is completely healed.

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