Laurie's Blogs.


Oct 2022

Laser and Hip Arthritis

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT

I came across another study.  This one looked at using photobiomodulation for the treatment of arthritis in comparison to the NSAID meloxicam.

Alves JC, Santos A, Jorge P, Carreira LM. A randomized double-blinded controlled trial on the effects of photobiomodulation therapy in dogs with osteoarthritis. Am J Vet Res. 2022 Jun 28;83(8):ajvr.22.03.0036. 

What they did:

They took 20 dogs with bilateral hip osteoarthritis and clinical signs of OA-related pain / functional disabilities and randomly assigned them to a Meloxicam and Sham-laser group (controls) or  a Laser and Placebo-pill group (Rx-group).  The study lasted for 21 days.


Meloxicam was dosed at 0.2 mg/kg q24hrs.

Laser was class 4, with 6.5 – 8 Watts of power, calculated to be delivering 14.3 – 19.5 J/cm2 over the area of the greater trochanter for a time interval of 4 min, 35 sec to 5 mins, 5 seconds.  (Slightly different wavelengths were used / combined depending on the colour of the dog’s hair coat).  Laser was administered 3 x / week the first week, 2 x / week the second week, and 1 x / week the third week.


What did they study?

  • Thermographic Imaging
  • Canine Brief Pain Index
  • Canine Orthopaedic Index
  • Goniometric ROM
  • Thigh Circumference



1.  An improvement was observed in most clinical metrology instruments scores in the laser group from +8 days, and this beneficial effect weaned off after the end of the treatment sessions.

2.  Significant improvements were observed in flexion and extension in PBMT, starting at +15 days up to the last evaluation point.

3.  The Laser group showed more extended periods with better results, with patients taking longer to return to baseline values and scores (after cessation of treatment).

4.  Lower values [cooler joints] were recorded in both thermographic views of joints in the PBMT during the treatment period.


The Conclusion

In conclusion, this prospective, positive-controlled, double-blinded study showed that PBMT

reduced pain levels and improved clinical findings in dogs with hip OA compared to the NSAID meloxicam. This beneficial effect weaned off after the end of the treatment sessions. Photobiomodulation therapy may present a noninvasive, cost-effective, low-risk treatment option for canine hip OA.



I like any study that espouses the benefits of laser therapy / photobiomodulation.  So, this study makes me happy.  I don’t have a class 4 laser, I have a class 3B.  I feel that I can use these study results and achieve the same benefits.  So, happy lasering and now you have one more research study to back up your treatment plans!


Until next time, Cheers!