Low-Level Laser Therapy for Osteoarthritis Treatment in Dogs at Missouri Veterinary Practice

J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2020 May/Jun;56(3):139-145. doi: 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-6851. Epub 2020 Mar 17.


A qualitative survey was electronically distributed to practicing veterinarians in the state of Missouri to evaluate the frequency of use and economic impact of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs in Missouri. The survey response rate was 10% (89/867). Approximately half (43%) of respondents had LLLT units, of which all used LLLT for OA treatment in dogs. In respondents without LLLT units, 20% referred patients for LLLT OA treatment. Training was most often obtained in-house by a representative of the LLLT unit manufacturer (76%). Treatment dose was largely unknown and chosen by predetermined settings on the LLLT unit (65%). In the majority of patients (84%), no treatment site preparation was performed. An average of four patients with OA were treated per wk with an average cost per treated joint of $28 (range: $15-45). This study provides insight into the current clinical use and estimated annual economic impact ($6.2 million per year) of treating a single OA joint in dogs with LLLT by Missouri veterinarians. The frequency with which LLLT is used in the treatment of OA combined with the variation in training and treatment protocols supports the need for further research regarding the application and efficacy of LLLT in dogs with OA.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / surgery*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Missouri
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis / veterinary*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterinarians*