Laser therapy (aka photobiomodulation) is often used to treat OA in veterinary patients, but the evidence to support this treatment is weak. At the time of this publication, there was one single prior publication investigating laser therapy for dogs with elbow OA (Looney et. al, Can Vet J 2018). This study found that with the laser and protocol studied (980 nm, 5-12 W, CW, 1-2.4W/cm2, 10-19 J/cm2, non-contact mode, scanning method; treatment 2x week for 3 weeks then once a week for 3 weeks), laser-treated dogs (n=11) showed significantly (p=0.001) greater reduction in lameness compared to sham (n=9) treated dogs. NSAID dose was also able to be decreased in 9 of the 11 laser-treated dogs. The authors of the current study (Barale et. al) aimed to report the clinical outcomes following a different laser therapy protocol in dogs with OA.
This retrospective report provides a basis for future investigations, needed to clarify whether laser therapy may be beneficial to treat canine OA-associated pain. The preliminary findings are promising and suggest that LLLT may help to reduce the analgesic administration and improving client satisfaction and the quality of life of dogs with OA.
Author & Journal:Loris Barale, Paolo Monticelli, Massimo Raviola, and Chiara Adami, Open Vet J., April 2020