Red Light Therapy for Animals - Benefits & Veterinary Usage
Red light therapy works wonders for humans. But how does it work on animals?
Like us, energetic animals are prone to inflammation, breaks, sprains, cuts, and pain. Trips to the vet and consequent dressings and surgeries can be extremely costly and distressing for a pet. For larger animals such as horses, small injuries can mean they are out of work for months.
In the same way that many people are shifting towards non-invasive, holistic treatments for illness, animal owners are increasingly open to alternative therapies for their beloved pets.
PlatinumLED light therapy devices are a highly efficacious treatment for pets. You may be surprised to learn that some veterinarians, animal naturopaths and pet owners have already been using red light therapy with red and near-infrared wavelengths on diverse species of animals.
It’s essential to acknowledge that red light therapy is not a panacea or cure-all for every condition. But it does provide a potent treatment for typical pet issues such as:
- Joint pain
- Sore muscles
- Wounds and cuts
- Ligament and tendon injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Muscle regeneration
What’s more, PlatinumLED light therapy devices also offer a useful complementary therapy for animals living with more significant or severe conditions. Regular use of LED light therapy on animals can also promises preventative benefits. Red and near-infrared light wavelengths keep joints, muscles and tissue healthy by promoting cellular regeneration and reducing inflammation.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work on Animals?
Red light therapy works on animals in much the same way that it works on humans. Nearly all forms of life benefit from red and near-infrared light exposure when it is administered in a sustained manner over time.
Light wavelengths within the range of 600nm to 1000nm impact on cellular mitochondria, where energy is generated. Red and near-infrared light wavelengths increase the production of cellular energy. This increase occurs because the light wavelengths facilitate the production of cytochrome c oxidase, a protein which is essential for the creation of energy. Cytochrome c oxidase is present in nearly all species.
Energized cells perform their normal functions faster and more effectively, enabling improved functioning, healing and recovery, and better overall health.
Let’s review the science that supports the use of red light therapy for our furry friends.
Many of the existing research we have on red light therapy for animals is based on studies performed on rats and mice, commonly known as pre-clinical trials.
However, there is already an impressive range of scientific literature documenting the advantages of red light therapy for other animals as diverse as chickens, pigs, cows, fish, and even worms. Some of the most commonly studied animals, however, are dogs, cats, and horses.
Red Light Therapy for Dogs
A 2017 study evaluated the effects of preoperative red light therapy on dogs undergoing bone surgery. Twenty-seven dogs were divided into two groups, one of which received the red light treatment pre-operatively, the other of which received a sham treatment. Eight weeks after treatments, a greater proportion of the dogs treated with light therapy had healed. These findings were supported by another study which found near-infrared wavelengths significantly accelerated bone healing in dogs.
Red light therapy can also support the recovery of dogs with herniated discs. Dogs which received postoperative red light therapy daily for five days were able to walk sooner than those which hadn’t received the light treatment.
Finally, red light therapy also supports the healing of dermatological issues in dogs. A 2016 study explored the use of red light treatment on dogs with pododermatitis. Pododermatitis is a common condition that appears as an inflamed lesion on a dog’s paw. The researchers discovered that the dogs which received the light treatment experienced a reduction in lesion size or the disappearance of the lesion entirely after 65 days.
Red Light Therapy for Horses
A study carried out on fourteen horses in 1987 found that infrared light therapy alleviated chronic back pain. The horses had been unable to perform at their expected standards due to longstanding back pain, and had received little benefit from other therapies. They received a light therapy treatment weekly, for an average of 11 weeks. Ten of the fourteen horses experienced an improvement in their back pain that was so significant they were able to return to training and competing. At the one-year follow-up, nine of these ten horses continued to perform well.
Another study found that horses with soft tissue injuries heal significantly faster when treated with a red light wavelength of 635nm. Wounds were made in the mid-metacarpal region of the legs of eight horses. After eighty days, horses treated with the red light had fully healed, while those in the control group (which hadn’t received the treatment) were still in the process of healing. The study’s authors concluded that red light therapy promoted tissue regeneration while reducing inflammation and pain. Remember that thanks to the highly advanced and patent-pending R+ | NIR+ spectrum found in our BIOMAX lights, we amply provide this wavelength alongside 4 others in a synergistic fashion.
It’s undeniable that scientific studies offer valuable factual proof that red light therapy assists in animal healing. Anecdotal evidence, however, is also helpful, providing firsthand insights into people’s experiences. You can find an extensive range of video testimonies from pet owners who have used red light therapy here.
First and foremost, check in with your vet to find out their opinion before you begin using red light therapy on your animal. While it is up to you, it’s always essential to consult with them to hear their opinion.
Once you have received the green light to go ahead, there are a few practical matters to consider. As animals respond to light therapy in much the same way as humans, using similar treatment protocols is a sound idea. Aim for three to four ten-minute sessions weekly.
Smaller animals may need less exposure to light, while larger animals are likely to benefit from higher exposure to light. Furry animals benefit from being slightly closer to the light source because their fur can hinder the penetration of the wavelengths through to the skin. Like humans, consistent use promises enhanced results and long-term benefits.
If you’re already using PlatinumLED red light therapy devices for your own health, you can also use these on your pet. Most pets appear comfortable around red and near-infrared light wavelengths, especially if their devoted owners are providing them with lots of attention and love during their treatment. Animals such as dogs see a more limited color range than humans so are not visually sensitive to red or near-infrared light.
If you’re trying to target a very particular area, shaving the spot can also be helpful as it allows the light to reach the intended region. Near-infrared light wavelengths are particularly powerful at reaching deeper layers of tissue.
In this case, what's good for the goose is truly good for the gander!