Clinical Studies

Laser Therapy for Dogs with Fracture-related Hind Limb Edema

The Effects of Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT) on Canine Post-traumatic Hind Limb Edema

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to determine if photobiomudulation therapy (aka low level laser therapy) causes any measurable effects on dogs with post-traumatic hind limb edema. Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) is the application of red and near infra-red light over injuries or lesions to improve wound and soft tissue healing, reduce inflammation and give pain relief. PBMT is believed to be cost effective and non-invasive, with low side effects. Because of this, it is becoming more prevalent in veterinary medicine and is being used for a wide variety of conditions. 

Dog receiving treatment


All study participants will receive a credit of $340 to their bill. By enrolling in this study, you and your dog will be helping to increase our knowledge about how to ease trauma-related edema for future dogs

Enrollment Requirements

To be included in this study dogs need to present to WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital (WSU VTH) within 72 hours of sustaining a hind limb trauma that resulted in hind limb and/or pelvic fractures. Edema of the affected limb must be greater than 2cm in diameter (in at least three locations), to successfully qualify for this study. Dogs will need to undergo surgical repair of those injuries at the WSU VTH and remain in the hospital for 72 hours after surgery. Dogs that are too painful or fractious to allow measurements to be taken or treatment to be administered will not qualify for this study. 

Treatment Methods

Enrolled dogs will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: the treatment group (receive laser therapy) or the control group (no laser therapy).  All dogs will undergo surgery and anesthesia using normal protocols. In addition, all dogs will have the following measurements taken at study-required time points: goniometry (measurement of the effected leg joint flex and extension), leg circumference, Creatinine Kinase levels (requires a blood draw), and mobility assessment. Dogs in the treatment group will receive laser therapy at 4 study-required time points. Provided there are no surgical complications, all enrolled dogs will be released to go home 72 hours after surgery.  They will need to either see their regular vet or return to the WSU VTH 2 weeks after surgery for a mobility assessment, surgical site recheck, and suture removal.

Owner Responsibilities

In order to enroll their dogs in this study, owners will need to bring their dog to the WSU VTH, located in Pullman, WA.  They will be responsible for the costs associated with their dog’s anesthesia, surgery, and routine post-operative care.  Approximately 2 weeks after surgery, owners are required to either bring their dog back to the WSU VTH or visit their regular veterinarian for a mobility assessment and a routine post-operative recheck and suture removal.

Contact Information

For more information please contact:

Lori Lutskas

Dr. Jessica Bunch