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  • Author or Editor: Daniel A. McCarthy x
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Patient factors may alter laser photon attenuation, but these factors have not been adequately evaluated in live dogs. Our objective was to evaluate class IV laser beam attenuation (LBA) by canine tissues using a colorimeter to evaluate melanin and erythema indices. We hypothesized that greater melanin and erythema indices and unclipped hair would increase LBA, and these properties would vary among tissues.


20 client-owned dogs.


Between October 1 and December 1, 2017, colorimeter measurements and LBA in various tissues before and after clipping overlying hair were evaluated. Data were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. Statistical significance was set at P < .05.


LBA was greater in unclipped (98.6 ± 0.4%) than clipped hair (94.6 ± 0.4%). The least LBA occurred in the pinna (93%) while the greatest occurred in the caudal vertebra (100%) and caudal semitendinosis muscles (100%). Each mm of tissue thickness resulted in LBA of 11.6%. Each unit increase in melanin index resulted in a 3.3% increase in LBA. There was no association of LBA with erythema index.


To our knowledge, this is the first study that evaluated LBA by different tissues in live dogs using a colorimeter to evaluate melanin and erythema indices. We recommend clipping hair prior to photobiomodulation to decrease laser beam attenuation and using increased laser doses in thicker tissues and dogs with high melanin content. The colorimeter may be helpful in customizing patient treatment dosimetry. Future studies are necessary to determine therapeutic laser doses for adequate photobiomodulation effects.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association