Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Degree Level



Animal Science


Thomas, Lauren

Committee Member/Reader

Powell, Jeremy

Committee Member/Second Reader

Kegley, Beth


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a slowly progressive, degenerative joint disease that causes destruction of cartilage and subsequent boney remodeling. It affects every aspect of the joint architecture, and is often characterized by pain, decreased range of motion and lameness. Traditionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been the first line of defense against OA in dogs. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) could potentially be a beneficial alternative to the use of NSAIDs. The purpose of this proposed study is to compare the clinical efficacy of low-level laser therapy to NSAID therapy in dogs diagnosed with OA. Additionally, we would like to evaluate the physiological response of OA dogs treated with low-level laser therapy as compared to traditional NSAID therapy. Twenty dogs diagnosed with OA were separated into two treatment groups. A licensed veterinarian administered six LLLT treatments to 10 of the dogs over the course of 30 days and prescribed oral NSAIDs for 30 days to the other 10 dogs. Dog owner questionnaires and veterinary physical examinations were obtained and utilized to determine the observable, physical improvements of each patient. Additionally, the veterinarian collected blood samples from each dog to perform basic blood profiles before and after each treatment protocol to ensure patient health. Leftover blood samples were obtained and utilized to measure pre- and post-treatment cortisol and C-reactive protein concentrations to evaluate physiological signs of pain and inflammation possibly associated with OA. Treatment x time interactions were observed in least square means of globulin concentrations (P < 0.09), SDMA concentrations (P < 0.096), and cortisol concentrations (P < 0.071). A significant time effect (P < 0.1) was also observed for 10 of the 11 items on the owner questionnaire. Four of the questions on the survey displayed treatment x time interactions (P < 0.1), as well. Both treatments were effective in reducing the effects of arthritis. LLLT could be used as an alternative treatment to traditional NSAIDs.


Low-Level Laser Therapy, Osteoarthritis, Carprofen

Available for download on Tuesday, April 14, 2026