Laser Therapy Combo Aids in Canine DM Treatment

Laser Therapy Combo Aids in Canine DM Treatment

Jul, 14

A combination of laser and rehabilitation therapies could help slow the progression of canine degenerative myelopathy

Photo courtesy Companion Animal Health

The addition of laser treatments to traditional rehabilitation therapy could help dogs suffering from canine degenerative myelopathy (DM) lead longer, healthier lives.

This is the focus of new research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery.

The retrospective review study looked at data taken from the records of dogs who had received intensive rehabilitation therapy and one of two photobiomodulation (a.k.a. laser therapy) protocols over a nine-year period at a single referral facility.

Information on the disease’s progression and survival was analyzed to determine differences in outcomes between the two treated groups and historical data expectations.

The findings demonstrated significantly slower disease progression and longer survival times for dogs treated with a combination of physical rehabilitation and laser therapy, as opposed to physical therapy on its own.

The study’s authors, Lisa Miller, DVM, CCRT, and Deb Torraca, DPT, MSPT, Diplomat ABPTS, CCRP, say that while further testing is needed, the initial results suggest hope for the potential treatment for the disease.

“Given the lack of other effective treatments for dogs with degenerative myelopathy and the safety of the regimen outlined in this study, we are excited to share this published information with our colleagues as an option for treatment consideration for DM patients,” Dr. Miller says.

“DM cases have always been a heart breaker, and I am so excited to share the prospect of improving [an animal’s] quality of life for the longest time possible,” Dr. Torraca adds. “Our protocol has extended the life and quality of life for dogs with DM.”

See study link and abstract below


Retrospective Observational Study and Analysis of Two Different Photobiomodulation Therapy Protocols Combined with Rehabilitation Therapy as Therapeutic Interventions for Canine Degenerative Myelopathy


Objective: The objective of this retrospective review was to examine the impact that adding photobiomodulation therapy (PBMt) to rehabilitation therapy had on the pathology of degenerative myelopathy (DM) in canine patients.

Background: Canine DM is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there exists a dearth of effective treatments, limiting clinicians to pursue symptom palliation.

Methods: Clinical records of dogs referred for presumed DM to a specialty rehabilitation facility were screened for patients meeting study criteria. Qualifying patients were divided into two groups: Protocol A (PTCL-A) and Protocol B (PTCL-B) group, based on the PBMt protocol used. Data related to demographics, diagnostics, rehabilitation protocols, and progression of clinical signs were collected. Data were analyzed to determine differences in outcomes between the two treated groups and historical data expectations, as given by a previously published study.

Results: The times between symptom onset and euthanasia of dogs in the PTCL-B group: 38.2 ± 14.67 months (mean ± SD), were significantly longer than those of dogs in the PTCL-A group: 11.09 ± 2.68 months. Similarly, the times between symptom onset and nonambulatory paresis (NAP) or paralysis of dogs in the PTCL-B group: 31.76 ± 12.53 months, were significantly longer than those of dogs in the PTCL-A group: 8.79 ± 1.60 months. Further, Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed that the times from symptom onset to NAP of dogs in the PTCL-B group were significantly longer than those of dogs in the PTCL-A group (Mantel-Cox Log Rank statistic = 20.434, p < 0.05) or the historical data group (Mantel-Cox Log Rank statistic = 16.334, p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The data reviewed show significantly slower disease progression—longer survival times—for patients in the PTCL-B group than those in the PTCL-A group or published historical data. Further studies are warranted.

Authors:  Lisa A. Miller, DVM, CCRT, CVA; Debbie (Gross) Torraca, DPT, MSPT, OCS, CCRP; and Luis De Taboada, MSEE



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