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Tags arthritis , cats , lasers , therapy

Old 26th April 2014, 04:46 PM   #1
Lisa Simpson
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 22,250
Cold Laser Therapy for Cats?

My son is thinking of adopting a kitten that had a baby gate fall on it, injuring its back. Its walking again and able to climb in and out of its litter box. The adoption agency said it has been getting cold laser therapy for the injury. My brief research seems to imply its bunk. But my son would like to know before he goes any further with the adoption if this is something real and will have to continue with after he gets the kitten.

Prepare to squee...

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Old 26th April 2014, 05:33 PM   #2
Tsukasa Buddha
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: NeverLand
Posts: 15,025
Awww. I've recently run into this as well. I see it in very poor company. From the blog of record:

So what is the truth behind all of these claims? Despite the nonsense of the underlying theory, is there any evidence cold laser therapy might have real benefits?

The answer for the vast majority of conditions is “No!” For a few conditions, the answer is more appropriately a “Maybe, but probably not much.”

Extensive reviews of the human literature have been done by the Cochrane Collaboration and the insurance companies Aetna and Cigna. These have found mixed but generally poor evidence for benefit as follows. A review of the veterinary literature on the subject can be found in Ramey 2004.


Overall, then, the theoretical foundations for low power laser therapy range from questionable to completely nonsensical pseudoscience. The in vitro research does suggest some real effects on living cells, but it does not indicate that such effects would be achievable or beneficial in actual patients. The human clinical research is extensive but of generally poor quality with no consistency to the laser treatment methods investigated, and it provides only very weak evidence of any clinically meaningful effects. The veterinary research is even more limited and of poor quality, ad it to is mixed with little convincing demonstration of real clinical benefits. All of this suggests an appropriate stance towards this therapy would be neutral to somewhat pessimistic, though certainly better quality research could identify some meaningful clinical benefits. The evidence does not support, and in some cases directly contradicts the claims made by the chiropratic organization website and much of the marketing materials on cold laser therapy veterinarians receive.

The ever trusty AAHA has an entire buying guide, with this minor factoid nestled in the middle:

Reasons for doubt

Search the Internet for relevant laser therapy studies, and you will be hard- pressed to find peer-reviewed reports. That is because “there are practically no scientifically based and methodologically sound studies of laser therapy in cats and dogs,” says Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, FAAMA, director of the Center for Comparative and Integrative Pain Medicine at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

One such study, funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, is under way at the University of Tennessee. Robinson plans to launch a study at Colorado State University next year. Although Robinson’s study parameters were not final when this article went to press, she says areas of interest include the effect of laser therapy on back pain, neurologic impairment and kidney disease.

In the absence of rigorous studies in human medicine, the insurance giant Aetna continues to rate laser therapy as experimental and investigational because “there is inadequate evidence of the effectiveness of cold laser therapy and high-power laser therapy in pain relief, in wound healing or for other indications.”

In August, calls to four pet health insurance companies selected at random produced similar responses. The net result is that some clients may decline treatment because their pets’ insurance policies do not provide coverage. This, in turn, might affect your practice’s ROI.
As cultural anthropologists have always said "human culture" = "human nature". You might as well put a fish on the moon to test how it "swims naturally" without the "influence of water". -Earthborn
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