In dogs does low level laser therapy reduce healing time?

  • Emma Jane Suiter Langford Vets Small Animal Referral Hospital, Langford House, Langford, Bristol, BS40 5DU



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PICO question

In dogs with a surgical or open wound does low level laser therapy increase the speed of wound contracture and reduce the healing time?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Five papers were critically reviewed. Four were randomised controlled trials and one was a case report

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

Three out of the five studies currently available assessing low level laser therapy to improve wound healing, suggest that low level laser therapy has no beneficial effect on the healing of open or incisional wounds. Of the papers that used statistical analysis, no statistical significance was found in wound surface area over time or tissue histological findings between wounds treated with laser therapy and those who were not. Two papers identified did find decreased wound healing times however the strength of evidence is far poorer for both, with only subjective assessment of the wound in the controlled trial and the other being a case report without control


Currently there is no strong evidence that low level laser therapy increases the speed of wound contracture and reduced healing time. More studies are recommended to provide stronger evidence towards the use of low level laser therapy in wound healing, preferably with a larger population of dogs and with laser settings which are consistent with previous studies for comparison

How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care. 


Open Access Peer Reviewed


de Braekt, M. M. H. I., van Alphen, F. A. M., Kuijpers-Jagtman, A. M. & Maltha, J. C. 1991. Effect of low level laser therapy on wound healing after palatal surgery in Beagle dogs. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 11: 5, 462–470. DOI:

Gammel, J. E., Biskup, J. J., Drum, M. G., Newkirk, K. & Lux, C. N. 2018. Effects of low-level laser therapy on the healing of surgically closed incisions and surgically created open wounds in dogs. Veterinary Surgery, 47: 4, 499–506. DOI:

Kurach, L. M., Stanley, B. J., Gazzola, K. M., Fritz, M. C., Steficek, B. A., Hauptman, J. G. & Seymour, K. J. 2015. The Effect of Low-Level Laser Therapy on the Healing of Open Wounds in Dogs. Veterinary Surgery, 44: 8, 988–996. DOI:

Lucroy, M. D., Edwards, B. F. & Madewell, B. R. 1999. Low-Intensity Laser Light-Induced Closure of a Chronic Wound in a Dog. Veterinary Surgery, 28: 4, 292–295. DOI:

Wardlaw, J. L., Gazzola, K. M., Wagoner, A., Brinkman, E., Burt, J., Butler, R., Gunter, J. M. & Senter, L. H. 2019. Laser Therapy for Incision Healing in 9 Dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, DOI:





Vol. 5 No. 1 (2020): The first issue of 2020

Section: Knowledge Summaries

Categories :  Small Animal  /  Dogs  /  Cats  /  Rabbits  /  Production Animal  /  Cattle  /  Sheep  /  Pig  /  Equine  /  Exotics  /