Laser Therapy in Horses

Submitted by Veterinary Wellness Partners on Mon, 02/16/2015 - 10:15am

The Benefits of Laser Therapy in Horses

Laser therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, is growing in popularity among equine veterinarians to promote healing, decrease inflammation, and manage pain. Laser light has a direct action on cells, specifically cellular mitochondria, to produce these desirable effects.  As with any treatment modality, an accurate diagnosis is important.  For example, if your horse is lame on the left rear leg, it doesn’t make sense to start treating the hock joint unless the lameness has been localized to that area.

 After lameness localization, a treatment plan must be developed.  Laser therapy is considered an adjunct therapy to other treatment modalities.  For example, our veterinarians may decide that your horse needs a joint injection to relieve the pain associated with hock arthritis and prescribe laser therapy to provide an additional method of long-term healing and pain relief to that area.  

Another benefit of laser therapy is that it is extremely safe.  Overdoses are almost impossible.  Laser therapy can also help reduce the number of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as phenylbutazone, that your horse may need.  Laser therapy typically starts at 2-4 treatments per week, eventually reducing to once per week or even month.  There are instances where such dramatic results occur after just a few treatments that they are no longer necessary and the horse is considered cured.

Laser therapy can be used for a wide variety of issues in horses.  A few of these include arthritis, tendon or ligament injury, wounds, back or neck pain, and joint swelling.  Laser therapy has been scientifically proven to reduce pain and inflammation and reduce healing time.  If your horse has any of these diagnoses that have been discussed, ask about laser therapy as a possible treatment modality.