Cryotherapy in dogs



The cryotherapy It is the application of cold in the body for therapeutic purposes. This technique is very effective in animals who have suffered trauma: from a simple punch or twist to a surgical intervention.

The cold can be applied in different ways: cold packs, cold massage, baths of ice immersion, baths, contrast, and sprays or refrigerant vapors.

It has therapeutic effects as: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, helps the reabsorption of edema, decreases the metabolism and cell permeability.Termoterapia en perros

At the level of the blood vessels it produces vasoconstriction followed by a decline of surface temperature, turning pale skin. It also reduces heart pressure and increases blood pressure.

Applications of short duration on the muscle ease muscle activity and produce an excitation of this. If short and repeated applications are produced, they have an effect of increased muscle tone, while long applications produce their decrease. In addition, it helps control muscle spasm.

On the nerves short applications are exciting, long-lasting applications go to produce anaesthesia in the area of the application, reducing the nerve conductivity and causing a decrease in pain sensation.

At the level of the skin decreases temperature surface and at the level of the respiratory systemIt gives an increase in respiratory rate.

There are a number of contraindications in which we should never apply cold:

  • Animals with hypothermia, i.e. with lower than normal body temperature

  • Animals who have hypersensitivity or even allergic reactions, such as hives, applying cold

  • Animals with problems of thermoregulation

  • Areas:

    • injury of peripheral nerves or sensory deficits

    • withvascular compromise

    • previously burned by cold

  • Open, deep or infected wounds

  • In very young animals, of small size or very old or weakened



The cold can be applied des of the moment in which the lesion or intervention occurs and must not access more than 20 minutes of treatment, since long uses hinder muscle contraction (cell death), increased spasm spasticity cases causing them to produce seizures.

It is necessary to check at all times the skin of the animal and if you see white or pale skin, treatment should be stopped. It is necessary to place a towel between the animal and the ice, nuncto put it directly, since there is a risk of producing burns on the skin.

Sometimes it is difficult to be able to endure the cold pack or cold about the dogs bag without that move, there are neoprene straps ideal for this purpose, and other specialty media for the knees or other joints.



Antoni Ramon Boixaderas


Animal physiotherapist

Technical Director of canine orthopedics?

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