Effects of Cold Compression, Bandaging, and Microcurrent Electrical Therapy after Cranial Cruciate Ligament Repair in Dogs


  • The study was performed at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL.

  • Presented in part at the ACVS meeting, October 2006, Washington, DC.

Corresponding Author: Dr. Josh Rexing, DVM, 3936 Beaverbrook Dr, Fort Wayne, IN 46815. E-mail: jfrexing@hotmail.com.


Objective— To compare 4 therapeutic techniques to reduce soft tissue swelling after cranial cruciate ligament repair in the dog.

Study Design— Prospective study.

Animals— Twenty-four dogs with cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCLR).

Methods— Dogs with naturally occurring CCLR, were surgically repaired by an extracapsular technique and randomly divided into 4 treatment groups (cold compression [CC], modified Robert Jones bandage [B], cold compression and bandage [CCB], and microcurrent electrical therapy and bandage [METB]) each with 6 dogs. Data were collected at 2 time points, the morning after surgery before the 1st treatment and 72 hours later after the last treatment. Limb girth was measured at 3 anatomic locations to assess soft tissue swelling and all affected limbs were evaluated for presence (or absence) of pitting edema and bruising. Analysis of covariance was used to determine effect of treatment on the percent change in circumference. Duncan's multiple-range test was used to determine differences in treatment groups circumferential percent change over 72 hours. Statistical significance was set at P<.05.

Results— Use of a Robert Jones bandage had the least effect on reducing postoperative soft tissue swelling with CC, METB, and CCB being equally effective in reducing swelling by 72 hours after surgery.

Conclusion— Use of cold compresses alone or with a bandage, or using microcurrent electrical therapy in combination with a bandage decreases soft tissue swelling over 72 hours more than a bandaging alone after extracapsular repair of CCLR.

Clinical Relevance— CC, METB, and CCB should be considered as viable options to limit soft tissue swelling after extracapsular repair of CCLR in dogs.