Cryotherapy Improves Limb Use But Delays Normothermia Early After Stifle Joint Surgery in Dogs

Stephanie D. Szabo, David Levine, Denis J. Marcellin-Little, Brian K. Sidaway, Erik Hofmeister, Erica Urtuzuastegui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the short-term efficacy and safety of cold compression therapy (CCT) relative to a soft padded bandage (SPB) in dogs undergoing surgery to manage cranial cruciate ligament injury. Methods:Dogs were randomized into groups that received CCT or SPB after surgery. Weight bearing was measured using a weight distribution platform before and the day after surgery. Stifle joint flexion and extension were measured using a goniometer before and the day after surgery. Rectal temperatures were measured every 15 min for 2 h after surgery and the morning after surgery. Mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNT) were measured using an algometer the day after surgery. Findings in both groups were compared using a mixed model ANOVA. Results:20 dogs were enrolled: 10 in the CCT and 10 in the SPB group. Dogs undergoing CCT had more stifle joint flexion (P = 0.008) and weight bearing (P < 0.001) after surgery than dogs with SPB. MNT after surgery correlated statistically with stifle joint flexion after surgery (r = −0.315, P = 0.014), extension after surgery (r = 0.310, P = 0.016), and weight bearing after surgery (r = 0.314, P = 0.003). Return to normothermia was delayed in the CCT group, with temperatures ~0.5°C (1.0°F) lower 105 (P = 0.018) and 120 min (P = 0.013) after surgery. Conclusion:Relative to bandaging, CCT had a positive short-term impact on stifle flexion and weight bearing. CCT delayed warming after surgery but dogs were only mildly hypothermic [0.5°C [1.0°F]].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number381
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020


  • canine rehabilitation
  • cryotherapy
  • dog
  • pressure pain threshold (PPT)
  • stifle joint
  • TPLO
  • weight bearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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