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Therapeutic Laser

Therapeutic laser, or low-level laser, is yet another modality used in canine rehabilitation. It speeds healing to a specific area, reduces swelling of swollen joints, and helps slow healing wounds heal faster.

Nurse performing laser therapy on dog
Nurse performing laser therapy on dog
Dog smiling with laser therapy goggles

Low-level laser therapy, sometimes called LLLT for short, is a non-invasive, drug-free technique that is commonly used in veterinary medicine in order to alleviate the pain that is associated with a range of different conditions. Many owners are concerned that all laser treatments involve burning and are very painful. However, LLLT treatment used at the Tampa Bay K9 Rehabilitation Center is Class 3B, or ‘cold’ laser, meaning that no heat is generated.  Class 3B cold laser is unlike the Class IV that can burn and must be used away from the body surface and maintain continuous motion to avoid burning.  There is some evidence that the powerful Class IV lasers disperse at the body surface, causing heat.  It is theorized that this heat is what the patient experiences rather than the photo biostimulation of the deeper tissues delivered by the Class 3B laser therapy, the therapeutic effect that reduces pain and enhances healing.

Low-level laser therapy is regularly recommended as part of a canine rehabilitation program because of the benefits that it offers the dogs that undergo the treatment. Your pet will almost certainly be scheduled for a number of sessions, carried out at regular intervals. The success of the treatment will be closely monitored, which will allow our rehabilitation veterinarian in charge of your pet’s case to determine how many sessions your dog will need and how they will combine with other elements of your dog’s rehabilitation program. 


Low-level laser therapy has been shown to have a range of positive effects on the animal being treated. These include the following:

  • A natural reduction in the amount of pain being experienced, with decreased need for prescription medications or administration of drugs.

  • A decrease in the amount of inflammation present in the area being targeted – something which occurs when your pet’s body is trying to protect itself from something that it believes could be harmful. 

  • Activation of your dog’s own natural defense system to fight off harmful invaders – aka a boosted immune system.

  • Accelerated tissue repair, which helps to ensure faster healing. 

  • Improved lymphatic drainage, so that toxins can be processed out of the body. 

  • Improved blood flow, enhancing circulation, and enabling nutrients and oxygen to reach the areas of your pet’s body that require regeneration and healing. 

Since the treatment itself is non-invasive, there are no wounds created and there’s no downtime to worry about. Your dog will be able to resume their usual daily activities immediately following each session. No wounds also mean that there is no risk of infection, and the therapy is considered to be exceptionally safe. Most animals feel absolutely nothing during the treatment, with many even being relaxed enough to fall asleep.


There are many different conditions that benefit from a dog undergoing a canine rehabilitation program. Such programs are also extremely common following surgical procedures, where there are areas of your pet’s body that need to recover and heal. Some of the most common conditions that are followed by LLLT as part of a canine rehabilitation program include:

  • Arthritis

  • Surgical wound healing

  • Traumatic wound healing

  • Fractures 

  • Hip dysplasia 

  • Degenerative joint disease

  • Tendonitis 

  • Muscle strains and sprains

  • Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries 

  • Post-operative surgery sites

If you have further questions about low-level laser therapy in canine rehabilitation, or to make an appointment to discuss your dog, please contact our friendly staff at (727) 521-3518