Energia Medical LLC

Is Red Light Therapy (RLT) Effective for Animals?

04/02/2024 01:00 PM By Rob Berman

Red Light Therapy, often known as Low-Level Light Therapy, photobiomodulation, or LED therapy, has been studied and investigated for many years and is gaining popularity among the medical community for its wide range of health benefits. Its practical applications are not confined to humans only; veterinarians have been using red light therapy for years to treat a variety of problems in dogs, cats, horses, and other animals.

Does RLT Work?

Despite the fact that there were alternative light sources accessible during the first 40 years of PBM (photobiomodulation) research, lasers remained by far the most often used treatment modality. Collimated, coherent, highly monochromatic beams with potential for high power densities were considered effective. However, non-coherent light sources like broad-band lights and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have proliferated in recent years. Today, the use of LEDs, commonly called Red Light, in photobiomodulation and other healthcare applications is well-established.

How is Light Therapy Beneficial?

The mechanism of Light Therapy involves mitochondrial photostimulation: increased cellular energy. This results in a wide range of health benefits, including improved blood circulation, Nitric Oxide production, and overall cellular activity, resulting in accelerated healing and tissue regeneration. Studies have demonstrated that LED can improve cellular function by up to 200%.

What Conditions can be Treated with RLT?

Most animals have been shown to respond well to photobiomodulation in the same way as humans. Studies suggest that Red Light Therapy can be used not only to treat a variety of health conditions but also to maintain the general health and performance of animals. The effects of Red Light Therapy are well-documented. It has been shown to accelerate wound healing, help with musculoskeletal disorders, and assist in relief from pain and inflammation. Following is a collection of studies that provide evidence of the benefits of RLT in animals.

Wound Healing

Low-level light treatment with LEDs (LED-LLLT) is becoming popular in the field of wound healing because it can speed up wound recovery while also controlling sequelae. A study investigated the effects of RLT on five wounds, including a wound with an ulcer, excoriation wounds, and edema of the lips. All patients experienced complete wound healing, infection control, and discomfort management. Although this study was done on humans, we can deduce similar outcomes in animals.

Chronic Back Pain

Red Light Therapy can be used to treat chronic back pain in several animals, including horses, dogs, cows, goats, and sheep. For competitive horses, back sprains and injuries are relatively common. Traditional medicine may find it exceedingly difficult to precisely identify the source of the pain in certain injuries, making treatment difficult. Studies suggest that Red Light Therapy can help with chronic low back pain due to its analgesic effects


Arthritis is a prevalent health issue in older animals. However, some breeds, like hounds and bulldogs, are more prone to joint issues than others, even at earlier ages. Red light therapy is becoming a more widely used treatment for these kinds of problems as a result of the mounting clinical data. One study observed the effects of LED therapy in the treatment of joint pain caused by osteoarthritis in white New Zealand rabbits. The results revealed decreased inflammation levels and preservation of the articular surface after 5 weeks of treatment.

Post-Operative Recovery and Increased Activity

A study observed the effects of RLT on dogs that had herniated discs repaired surgically. The results showed that the treatment group healed 4 times faster than the control group. One study conducted two experiments to investigate if red light could be beneficial in promoting growth and activity in broiler chickens. The results concluded that bright red light not only increased activity in chickens but also reduced locomotive disorders.

For Stronger Immunity

Red Light can help strengthen the body’s immune system due to increased cellular activity. Regular treatment can protect animals from bacteria and viruses by strengthening the body’s defense system. One study revealed that regular LED therapy increased platelet counts in mice with immune thrombocytopenia. Studies also suggest that PBM has the potential to change thymic involution, enhance immunological function in the elderly, and has the potential to increase lifespan.

Since evidence suggests that Light Therapy is increasingly becoming a revolutionizing, holistic treatment, it can be used to treat animals, and various studies have suggested positive results. Moreover, RLT is not only effective, but it is also a safe, non-invasive, side-effect-free treatment modality that doesn’t require one to use any medicines.

Looking for a quick and effective treatment method for your pets, cattle, or poultry? Check out Energia Medical’s collection of lightweight and portable Red Light Therapy pads. These are easily maneuverable and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit all areas of the body.


Calderhead, R. G. (2007). The photobiological basics behind light-emitting diode (LED) phototherapy. Laser Therapy, 16(2), 97-108.

Heiskanen V, Hamblin MR. Photobiomodulation: lasers vs. light emitting diodes? Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2018 Aug 8;17(8):1003-1017. doi: 10.1039/c8pp90049c. Erratum in: Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2018 Oct 31;18(1):259-259. PMID: 30044464; PMCID: PMC6091542.

Kim WS, Calderhead RG. Is light-emitting diode phototherapy (LED-LLLT) really effective? Laser Ther. 2011;20(3):205-15. doi: 10.5978/islsm.20.205. PMID: 24155530; PMCID: PMC3799034.

Tafur J, Mills PJ. Low-intensity light therapy: exploring the role of redox mechanisms. Photomed Laser Surg. 2008 Aug;26(4):323-8. doi: 10.1089/pho.2007.2184. PMID: 18665762; PMCID: PMC2996814.

NT, Turner SG, Margolis DA, Cevenini V, Stinson H, Ignatius R, Martin T, Cwiklinski J, Philippi AF, Graf WR, Hodgson B, Gould L, Kane M, Chen G, Caviness J. Effect of NASA light-emitting diode irradiation on wound healing. J Clin Laser Med Surg. 2001 Dec;19(6):305-14. doi: 10.1089/104454701753342758. PMID: 11776448.

Zhang WW, Wang XY, Chu YX, Wang YQ. Light-emitting diode phototherapy: pain relief and underlying mechanisms. Lasers Med Sci. 2022 Jul;37(5):2343-2352. doi: 10.1007/s10103-022-03540-0. Epub 2022 Apr 11. PMID: 35404002.

Opel DR, Hagstrom E, Pace AK, Sisto K, Hirano-Ali SA, Desai S, Swan J. Light-emitting Diodes: A Brief Review and Clinical Experience. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015 Jun;8(6):36-44. PMID: 26155326; PMCID: PMC4479368.

Min PK, Goo BL. 830 nm light-emitting diode low level light therapy (LED-LLLT) enhances wound healing: a preliminary study. Laser Ther. 2013;22(1):43-9. doi: 10.5978/islsm.13-or-06. PMID: 24155549; PMCID: PMC3799047.

Gale GD, Rothbart PJ, Li Y. Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Pain Res Manag. 2006 Autumn;11(3):193-6. doi: 10.1155/2006/876920. PMID: 16960636; PMCID: PMC2539004.

Oshima Y, Coutts RD, Badlani NM, Healey RM, Kubo T, Amiel D. Effect of light-emitting diode (LED) therapy on the development of osteoarthritis (OA) in a rabbit model. Biomed Pharmacother. 2011 Jun;65(3):224-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2011.02.011. Epub 2011 May 20. PMID: 21658899.

Draper WE, Schubert TA, Clemmons RM, Miles SA. Low-level laser therapy reduces time to ambulation in dogs after hemilaminectomy: a preliminary study. J Small Anim Pract. 2012 Aug;53(8):465-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.2012.01242.x. Epub 2012 Jul 11. PMID: 22783835.

Prayitno DS, Phillips CJ, Stokes DK. The effects of color and intensity of light on behavior and leg disorders in broiler chickens. Poult Sci. 1997 Dec;76(12):1674-81. doi: 10.1093/ps/76.12.1674. PMID: 9438281.

Yang, J., Zhang, Q., Li, P. et al. Low-level light treatment ameliorates immune thrombocytopenia. Sci Rep 6, 38238 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep38238

Odinokov D, Hamblin MR. Aging of lymphoid organs: Can photobiomodulation reverse age-associated thymic involution via stimulation of extrapineal melatonin synthesis and bone marrow stem cells? J Biophotonics. 2018 Aug;11(8):e201700282. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201700282. Epub 2018 Feb 12. PMID: 29227581; PMCID: PMC5995606.

Image Credit: <ahref="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/female-veterinarian-applying-bandage-wounded-dog-s-paw_3168425.htm#query=injured%20dog&position=49&from_view=search&track=sph">Freepik</a>

Rob Berman

Added to cart
- There was an error adding to cart. Please try again.
Quantity updated
- An error occurred. Please try again later.
Deleted from cart
- Can't delete this product from the cart at the moment. Please try again later.