Something You Wouldn't Think Cold Laser Could Be Good For: Snake Bite

This story was posted by Dr. Patrick Mahaney as part of FlexPet's Summertime Pet Safety Series. The story is based on a case report by Dr. Yukiko Kuwahara, DVM, who treated a nasty snake bite with Multi Radiance Medical Laser.

According to my friend, animal physical therapist, Susan E. Davis, lasers are one of the most underutilized treatment modalities that we have to offer animals in the veterinary world. 

A cold laser it is one of the safest and most effective devices to utilize.

The treatment increases healing, decreases pain, reduces  unwanted scar tissue, decreases bacterial counts, reduces inflammation, etc. Jasmine is getting cold laser along with her physical therapy but when she had the foot infection, got that lasered too.

Could cold laser be also used to treat a snake bite?

A bite by a venomous snake needs to be treated quickly and aggressively. The severity depends on how much venom was injected by the snake.

What will snake venom do to the dog? 

Snake venom contains enzymes and other proteins that target the nervous system and the blood cells and cause tissue death. Venomous snake bites also cause severe pain.


The dog in this story got bitten on the mouth and needed help fast.

The front desk receptionist yells out, “Snake bite, STAT!!!”, and here she comes flying into the rear treatment area, being tugged by a blur of an out-of-control black Irish setter. 

Trying to maintain her balance, she yells out over the howls of the dog, “this dog has been bitten by a snake and needs help fast!”.

Both his top and bottom lips were swelling rapidly. The hospital doesn't stock anti-venom and they had to decided very soon whether this patient needed to be transferred to a trauma and emergency hospital.

The dog was put on standard IV treatment. The staff was waiting to see whether the treatment was having an effect or if the dog was headed for a transfer.

The goal of treatment is to minimize and reverse the effects of the venom as well as pain management.

Meanwhile, the swelling was getting worse.

Dr. Kuwahara decided to laser the dog's lips, to see if it would reduce the swelling. And, indeed, the swelling started to go down. Encouraged, Dr. Kuwahara kept on with the treatment.

By the end of the treatment, both lips had decreased in size tremendously.

The dog was not acting like a typical snake bite victim. There was no apparent pain or sloughing necrotic tissue. Instead, he was presenting symptoms more typical of a bee, spider, scorpion, or other insect bite.

Within four hours the dog was sent home with no need for transfer to an emergency hospital.


Read the full story at Dr. Mahaney's blog: Cold Laser Therapy Helps a Snake Bite Victim

Related articles:
Photon Power: Can Laser Therapy Help Your Dog?
Protect Your Dog From Snake Bites 
From The Case Files: From A Swelling To Necrosis In Days 
The Assumption Trap: Tosha's Snake Bite
Spider Bites Dog


  1. Jana, Thank you so much for the early credit given me in this fascinating article! Also I'm exceedingly glad to have you as a friend! Sue


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