Perilesional photobiomodulation therapy and physical rehabilitation in postoperative recovery of dogs surgically treated for thoracolumbar disk extrusion

E. Bruno, S. Canal, M. Antonucci, M. Bernardini, F. Balducci, V. Musella, M. Mussoni, G. Spinella
BMC Veterinary Research, 16:120, 2020

Background: Recent studies have reported contrasting results of the effects of laser therapy on post-operative intervertebral disk herniation, with a lack of evidence-based advantages of this modality within a rehabilitation protocol.
The aim of this study was to report the clinical effects of photobiomodulation therapy within a post-operative rehabilitation protocol in dogs submitted to surgery for thoracolumbar disk extrusion. Twenty-four dogs were included in the study (12 dogs treated with laser therapy and rehabilitation protocol and 12 dogs treated with same rehabilitation protocol but without laser therapy).
Results: All dogs treated with laser therapy showed improved neurological status (Modified Frankel Score more than 3 within 30 days of physiotherapy starting) if deep nociception on admission was maintained (P = 0.04). However, Kaplan-Meier analysis did not show any statistical difference in time to regain ambulatory ability, although there was a tendency for a shorter mean time of 14.2 ± 8.55 days in the laser group versus 24 ± 18.49 days in the no laser group.
Conclusions: The use of laser therapy in the post-operative rehabilitation of dogs affected by intervertebral disc extrusion and submitted to surgery for spinal decompression could help improve their neurological status.