Laser Therapy, also known as Low-Level Laser Therapy, in veterinary medicine is an emerging treatment modality due to its ability to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Laser is monochromatic light that stimulates localized healing and induces cellular growth, proliferation, and repair; it is also largely safe to use.
Since Laser Therapy is considered safe and doesn’t involve any invasive or pharmacological methods, it is growing in popularity and slowly becoming a mainstream method of treatment. In North America, around 20% of veterinary hospitals reportedly use Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in their practice. It also finds several applications in many dog-related problems.
Laser Therapy for Dogs: How Does it Work?
In simple terms, monochromatic, coherent, and collimated light is used in Laser Therapy to induce physiological changes. Light kickstarts a series of photochemical events, including enhanced ATP production and Nitric Oxide release which, which result in accelerated healing and cellular regeneration. Laser Therapy is known to enhance:
- ATP production
- NO (Nitric Oxide) release
- Collagen synthesis which increases healing
- Endorphin release
- Muscle relaxation
- Blood circulation
- Nerve healing and repair
Nitric Oxide is an important molecule known for signaling the body’s cardiovascular system. Research shows that light in the right frequency can enhance NO production, which can have vasodilatory, analgesic, and overall healing effects. The working mechanism behind Laser Therapy largely rests in its ability to produce Nitric Oxide.
Laser Therapy and Treatment of Dogs
Since ample amount of evidence supports the use of laser in alleviating pain and inducing healing, Laser Therapy is being used by veterinary doctors to treat dogs that suffer from various complications or just to manage overall health. Here are some of the research-backed applications of Laser Therapy for dogs.
In the US, osteoarthritis affects around 20% of dogs that are above 1 year old. It doesn’t just cause pain but also severely affects their quality of life. Common treatment involves drugs that pose the risks of addiction, dependence, and other side effects, including renal, hepatic and gastrointestinal problems. The most promising non-pharmacological medical treatment that has shown promising results in both human and canine osteoarthritis is Laser Therapy. Research shows the clinical usefulness of LLLT in the treatment of pain associated with osteoarthritis, which can also help improve a dog’s quality of life. 
Since Laser Therapy or photobiomodulation induces healing, it has been shown to assist in post-surgery recovery. One study investigated the effects of laser treatment in thirty-six dogs that underwent a surgical procedure for a herniated disk. The dogs were divided into two groups, with the control group receiving LLLT postoperatively for five consecutive days. The results concluded that when compared to the control group, the dogs that received treatment showed a significantly reduced time to ambulation. Another research study showed positive results in surgical wound healing in canines that had to undergo thoraco-lumbar hemilaminectomies. Laser Therapy improved the overall cosmetic appearance of wounds and incisions in all participant dogs.
Relief from Pain and Joint Disorders
Traumatic injuries or muscle diseases can lead to joint pain in dogs. Older dogs can also have joint pain or disorders. When it comes to chronic joint problems, low-level laser therapy has been shown to significantly lower pain and improve the overall health of patients. One research shows a reduction of pain in up to 64% of the patients with joint problems who received regular Laser Therapy.
Greater fluences of laser light are shown to have cytotoxic effects, which suggests practical applications of laser in the treatment of infections. One study evaluated the effects of LLLT on bacterial loads of wounds. The study was conducted on fourteen dogs that had traumatic bites or laceration wounds. The results concluded a significant reduction in bacterial loads of contaminated wounds in all dogs who received Laser Therapy at the wavelength between 805 to 907 nm.
Nerve injury is common among dogs and can lead to partial paralysis, weakness in limbs, or even muscle wasting due to loss of sensory/motor functions. According to animal studies, laser phototherapy has a rapid protective effect when it comes to nerve regeneration: It maintains the injured nerve’s functional activity, reduces the formation of scar tissue at the injury site, slows the degeneration of the corresponding motor neurons in the spinal cord, and significantly boosts axonal growth and myelination.  
Research shows the practical efficacy of Laser Therapy in the treatment of dogs. You can use lasers to either treat a condition or just to maintain the general overall health of your pet. Want a safe, effective, side effect-free treatment for canines? Check out Berman Partners’ collection of handheld Laser Therapy devices. These devices offer a broad range of customization and come in a variety of wavelengths. For more details, feel free to contact us.
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