Therapeutic Lasers Can Combat Arthritis

By Dr . Joi Sutton|2023-09-26T09:34:11-04:00Updated: May 22nd, 2014|Pet Care, Pet Newsletter|5 Comments

When I joined the ADW team in 2011, my charge was to help educate our ADW clients about pet diabetes. I love interactions with our clients, and the emails I receive are a great source of future articles. I love being part of the ADW team and sharing my experiences as a small animal general practitioner with our ADW clients. ADW is all about educating people, and I have lots of fun writing my articles and interacting with our readers. I readily admit that I am one of those nerdy veterinarians who still is excited to go to work each day.

Now, most of my articles are about pet diabetes as you would expect. However, now and again I throw in a non-diabetes topic. Most of them have a link back or have a pearl of value to a pet owner of a diabetic pet, but sometimes I just get a hankering to write about something not specific to diabetes. Diabetic pets are still pets after all, pets that have many of the same issues as non-diabetic pets. Today’s article is one of those!

I have invested in the new Cutting Edge MLS (multi-wave locked system) Therapeutic Laser for my little hospital in South Florida. For those of you who know the lingo and may be smarter than me, this is a state of the art class 4 infra-red cold laser with a peak power of 75 watts. You can bet that every day until it arrived when the UPS truck showed up at my clinic this week with medical supplies I was like a kid on Christmas morning!

What is so cool about this technology? It’s cool because it is an option for pain relief and a way to combat inflammation – without drugs. As a relatively healthy person who rarely ever takes medications into my own body, I sometimes think I’m sending home my entire pharmacy with patients with complicated situations. Particularly for our aging pets, I can fill a bag with omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine products and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

My primary impetus for investing in a therapeutic laser for my own patients was for the arthritic dogs and cats.

However, lasers are more than just for arthritis. They are for any wound, any inflammation and any pain. Of course there are a few contraindications. You wouldn’t laser a pregnant animal. And we wouldn’t laser a tumor as it might stimulate growth of the tumor. And we don’t use it on the thyroid glands. And you wouldn’t use it if the pet has over-active bleeding or a bleeding disorder. Those are the biggies. Since we don’t want to point it anywhere near the eyes, pets and the humans in the room all get to wear goggles (or “doggles” as we call them for the critters).

I don’t want you to finish this article and think that therapeutic lasers are going to fix everything, but they are another very cool tool in our tool box to alleviate pain, particularly pain associated with any kind of inflammation. Before investing an unfathomable amount of money on my own laser, I spoke with a few other veterinarians who also live and practice in small towns – one in Arkansas and one in Alabama. If I can make a laser affordable to my clients in my small town, there is a decent chance there may be one in your vicinity that can help you too.

NOTE: Consult your veterinarian first to make sure my recommendations fit your pets special health needs.

About the Author: Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr. Joi Sutton is a 1993 graduate from Oregon State University. She has practiced both in emergency medicine and general practice. Dr. Sutton has done extensive international volunteer work though Veterinary Ventures, a nonprofit organization that takes teams of veterinarians to undeveloped countries for humane medical care. She also runs a small animal practice in South Florida. Connect with Dr. Joi on LinkedIn


  1. Kathy W May 24, 2014 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Our 8 year old Bichon Frise, Daisy, has diabetes, but also bad hips. She and our other Bichon sometimes play rambunctiously, and about a year ago she injured her hip and back playing with him, to the point where she couldn’t stand up from a sitting position, and had trouble walking, and was clearly in pain. Our vet has a k-laser, and used it on her twice a week for a few weeks, then once a week. It was miraculous the way she recovered and now can run around effortlessly, even with her bad hip. We also began giving her injections of Ichon, a generic form of Adequan, which is essentially glucosamine. Since I already give her insulin injections twice a day, it wasn’t much of a problem to give another once a week. I think that has helped her also. Incidentally, our vet told us that he has used the k-laser on his own arthritic knuckles, and it helps him!

  2. biffy May 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Hiya Doc! Wouldn’t a LASER be good for bleeding disorders? A LASER usually cauterizes very well.

  3. J. Thrash May 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    I have a small beagle who greatly benefited from laser treatments. It wasn’t expensive. I will not hesitate to give the same treatments to any of my dogs who become afflicted in the future.

  4. ADW Customer May 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this, Dr. Joi! It’s too late for one
    of my kitties who struggled with arthritis and had to take so many meds to
    relieve the pain and promote function. But I will remember it for the
    future, and thanks for educating all of us!

    • Dr Joi May 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words. I’ve now had my laser for several months and have been thoroughly impressed by the pain relief it has offered my own patients. Cool! 🙂

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