Multimodal treatment of spinal chord contusion with laser therapy

Start of treatment: 01/03/22
End of treatment: 20/04/22
Centre: VETSIA Veterinary Hospital, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Service
Author of the clinical case: Carlos Javier Vázquez López

The clinic was visited by a canine cross-breed patient aged 9 months and weighing 10 kilograms with non-ambulatory paraparesis V/VIII in the pelvic joints and preserved deep sensitivity.

During the examination, an absence of postural reaction was observed in the left pelvic limb and spinal reflections, considered normal, with no alterations in cranial pairs. The patient presents marked hypotrophy of the ischiotibial musculature and both quadriceps, as well as the presence of overloaded musculature in the thoracic limbs.

Spinal chord contusion was diagnosed between the eighth and ninth thoracic vertebra, with the presence of associated haematoma.


Multimodal treatment was chosen, combining laser therapy and hydrotherapy on an underwater treadmill. A decision was reached to initially provide weekly sessions (5) and spread them further apart as the patient improved, with a total treatment duration of 63 days for a total of seven sessions.

The following laser protocol was chosen: continuous waveform, 4000 Hz, 10 Hz / 100 Hz (alternating at each session), 400 J total at 7 W power using the contact mode massage hand tool. Treatment was applied for 1 minute and 40 seconds, initially once per week.

Improvements during the laser therapy sessions

At the third session, the patient was able to stand up and walk by itself (ambulatory paraparesis level III/VIII) and the sessions were spread further apart as from the fifth due to the improvement. After seven sessions, the patient presents moderate pain in the area around the injury with no neurological alteration. The patient is discharged.

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In combination with hydrotherapy on an underwater treadmill, laser photobiomodulation therapy has shown itself to be effective for the recovery of ambulation (1), modulating inflammation (2) and improving the symptomatology of the patient with spinal chord contusion and the presence of associated haematoma.

  1. Ramezani F, Razmgir M, Tanha K, Nasirinezhad F, Neshastehriz A, Bahrami-Ahmadi A, Hamblin MR, Janzadeh A. Photobiomodulatin for spinal cord injury: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Physiology and Behaviour (Oct.2020 vol 224).
  2. (2) Ayar, Z., Gholami, B., Piri, S.M. et al. The effect of low-level laser therapy on pathophysiology and locomotor recovery after traumatic spinal cord injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lasers Med Sci 37, 61–75 (2022)

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