Study: LED Light Therapy Doesn’t Help Horse Wounds Heal

Researchers treated neck wounds with a commonly accepted LED light therapy and saw no positive effects.
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Study: LED Light Therapy Doesn’t Help Horse Wounds Heal
Researchers found horse wounds did not heal faster with LED light therapy.| Photo: Courtesy Peter Michanek, DVM
Horse skin wounds are notoriously slow to heal. While various treatments might help speed their healing, nonlaser light therapy doesn’t seem to be one of them, according to a new study.

Despite common claims that light-emitting diodes (LEDs), in the form of red light or infrared light, can improve healing times in equine wounds, Swedish scientists recently determined they had no positive effect in their experimental group.

“We have no competing interest, and our goal was not to show that this device works but rather to investigate if it works,” said Peter Michanek, DVM, of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, in Uppsala. “That said, it would have been great if this had been an effective way of treating wounds in horses.”

No Effect on Experimental Neck Wounds

In their study, Michanek and his fellow researchers produced experimental wounds, 2 centimeters (3/4 inch) in diameter, on both sides of the necks of eight anesthetized, adult Standardbred horses. They randomly treated either the right-side or left-side wound of each horse with a commonly accepted commercial LED light therapy used for horse wounds and left the other side untreated. In that way, the horses served as their own controls

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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