Helping TPLO recovery with cold compression therapy

21 October 2019 – News

Cryotherapy is a rehabilitation technique with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, commonly used postoperatively. When combined with intermittent dynamic pressure, it is called Cold Compression Therapy (CCT).

This study included 30 cranial cruciate ligament-deficient stifle joints of dogs, divided in three groups:

  • Group I – CCT once before and after surgery
  • Group II – CCT four times after surgery, at six-hourly intervals
  • Group III – Control (no CCT)

Before surgery and three times following surgery, a single blinded observer experienced in veterinary rehabilitation measured the range of motion (ROM), evaluated the degree of lameness, quantified the circumference of the stifle joint and classified the patient using the Glasgow Pain Scale.

The results for the first two groups were similar. The novel protocol (used for Group I) was based on previous studies in dogs and humans and was viewed as a potential alternative to the commonly used approach (Group II). It is also easier to implement as it does not require as much patient collaboration.

One day after surgery, the CCT groups showed a higher ROM and lower scoring on the Glasgow Pain Scale. After 10 days, only the ROM score was significantly lower in Groups I and II compared to III. By the 42nd day, a significantly greater ROM was observed in both CCT groups. All dogs improved clinically with no radiographic complications.

The take-home message of this research is that CCT can reduce pain-related parameters following TPLO in dogs but further research is required and it would have been useful to include a study group of patients which only received preoperative CCT.

  1. von Freeden et al. Comparison of two cold compression therapy protocols after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy in dogs. Tierärztliche Praxis Kleintiere 4/2017.