Cold laser therapy, also known as low level laser therapy, is a treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue. Laser therapy has been used for decades in human medicine, and is more recently being used in veterinary medicine. It can treat a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions.

How does laser therapy work?

The laser deeply penetrates tissue and stimulates the body’s cells to create energy. This energy stimulates metabolic processes and overall cellular function. This results in elimination of waste products and reproduction of new cells. It also releases natural, pain-killing endorphins within the body, which reduce pain, decrease inflammation and swelling, and speed the healing process.

What conditions can laser therapy benefit?

Laser therapy can help with acute and chronic issues such as

  • Arthritis
  • Sprains, strains and soft tissue trauma
  • Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries
  • Post surgical healing and wound healing
  • Gingivitis
  • Pain (both acute and chronic)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ear infections
  • Feline acne
  • Degenerative joint disease

Acute conditions are treated until the issue is resolved. Chronic conditions, such as arthritis, may require multiple treatments. Improvement is often noticed with the first treatment, and frequency of treatments can be reduced over time.

There are no known side effects of laser therapy.

What does a laser treatment feel like?

Humans receiving laser treatments report a gentle warmth at the area being treated, so it’s safe to assume that cats feel the same effect. Since laser treatments release endorphins, many cats will relax during and after treatment.

Laser treatments do not require sedation, and cats won’t need to have their hair clipped. Treatment length varies, but usually lasts between 2 and 8 minutes. The majority of patients will show improvement 12 to 24 hours after a treatment.

Laser operators are required to wear protective eye goggles, and most practitioners will also provide protective eyewear for their feline patients.

Would you consider laser therapy for your cat?

Photo of Harriet receiving laser therapy @Renee Austin, Whimsy Cats, used with permission

14 Comments on Benefits of Laser Therapy for Cats

  1. Oh, yes, our 13 year old boy kitty, Luka has a bone spur in his one elbow, and our holistic vet suggested trying laser therapy to help his arthritis. They didn’t give him goggles to wear, but put a light towel over his head to protect his eyes and we wore the goggles.We saw improvement for him, because he had a limp before this. He also had a chiropractic adjustment afterwards and it all relaxed his fearfulness being there..We are taking him again for another session of both therapies tomorrow too..Its well worth doing this instead of dealing with medications with side effects for cats..He’s also on Dr. Mercolas powdered Curcumin for Pets and Cosequin too..

  2. One of our dogs has rather severe arthritis in her elbow and back. We have used low level laser therapy and it dramatically improved her condition. She went from having trouble walking even short distances without limping to bounding up and down the stairs and running completely pain free within a few treatments. One of my cats has irritable bowel disease, and I have not seen much at all regarding low level laser therapy being a successful therapy modality for IBD (except for this article, and the manufacturer’s brochure for the laser equipment our veterinarian uses). I’m wondering if anyone here has any experiences with this.

  3. Talia, one of the cats who came before us, had laser treatment for her arthritis. While the humans couldn’t see any improvement from the treatments, Talia never found the treatments uncomfortable or distressing. However, she would not wear the glasses.

  4. Our holistic vet has used laser therapy on one of our kitties with great success. Wonderful article! Thanks for bringing up this very important aspect of veterinary care for our pets.

  5. One of my cats, scooter, had several laser treatments to help with ulcerated butt area. And she wore the goggles. I’m taking classes in laser therapy so I can perform the treatments myself. It helped tremendously.

  6. We have a dog that could totally benefit from those treatments but as usual we do not have the money for that.

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