Influence of class IV laser therapy on the outcomes of tibial plateau leveling osteotomy in dogs

Vet Surg. 2018 May;47(4):507-515. doi: 10.1111/vsu.12794. Epub 2018 Apr 26.


Objective: To determine the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on clinical outcomes in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament disease treated with tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO).

Study design: Randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Owners and surgeons (care providers and assessors) were masked.

Animals: Ninety-five dogs were admitted for TPLO and assigned to 1 of 2 groups, laser group (LG; n = 51) or placebo group (PG; n = 44).

Methods: Three treatments (laser or placebo) were administered within a 4-day perioperative period. A fourth treatment was recommended and was accepted in 28.4% of cases (LG, n = 14; PG, n = 13). Dogs in the LG group received laser at wavelengths 660 nm red (100 mW) and at 800, 905 and 970 nm infrared (maximum 15 W continuous wave, 20 W peak pulsed wave), administered simultaneously. Dogs in the PG group received placebo laser (660 nm, 4 mW). Other treatments were identical. Outcomes were measured by difference in clinical metrology instruments (Liverpool Osteoarthritis in Dogs and adjusted Canine Orthopedic Index [COI]), osteotomy healing on a radiographic scale, time to cessation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug administration, and wound healing by owner questionnaire.

Results: The only difference detected between groups consisted of a greater improvement in the gait section of the adjusted COI (ACOI) in the LG group (median [interquartile range; IQR] = 6 [4-7.5]) compared with the PG group (median [IQR] = 4 [2-6]; P < .05).

Conclusion: The laser protocol used in this study was associated with a greater improvement in ACOI gait in dogs treated with TPLO but did not improve any other clinical metrology instrument scores or bone healing.

Clinical significance: This study provides some evidence that LLLT may improve the gait of dogs recovering from a TPLO, as assessed by owners.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / surgery*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis / veterinary
  • Osteotomy / methods
  • Osteotomy / veterinary*
  • Stifle / surgery
  • Tibia / surgery