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Novel dry cryotherapy system for cooling the equine digit
  1. Jessica Morgan,
  2. Darko Stefanovski,
  3. Margret Lenfest,
  4. Sraboni Chatterjee and
  5. James Orsini
  1. Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jessica Morgan; jmmorgan{at}


Objectives Digital cryotherapy is commonly used for laminitis prophylaxis and treatment. Currently validated methods for distal limb cryotherapy involve wet application or compression technology. There is a need for a practical, affordable, dry cryotherapy method that effectively cools the digit. The objective of this study was to evaluate the hoof wall surface temperatures (HWSTs) achieved with a novel dry cryotherapy technology.

Design Repeated-measures in vivo experimental study.

Setting Experimental intervention at a single site.

Participants 6 systemically healthy horses (3 mares, 3 geldings).

Interventions Cryotherapy was applied to six horses for eight hours with a commercially available rubber and rubber and welded fabricice boot, which extended proximally to include the foot and pastern. Reusable malleable cold therapy packs were secured against the foot and pastern with the three built-in hook-and-loop fastener panels.

Primary and secondary outcome measures HWST and pastern surface temperature of the cryotherapy-treated limb, HWST of the control limb and ambient temperature were recorded every five minutes throughout the study period.

Results Results were analysed with mixed-effects multivariable regression analysis. The HWST (median 11.1°C, interquartile range 8.6°C–14.7°C) in the cryotherapy-treated limb was significantly decreased compared with the control limb (median 29.7°C, interquartile range 28.9°C–30.4°C) (P≤0.001). Cryotherapy limb HWST reached a minimum of 6.75°C (median) with an interquartile range of 4.1°C–9.3°C. Minimum HWST was achieved 68 minutes after cryotherapy pack application.

Conclusions Dry application of cryotherapy significantly reduced HWST and reached minimums below the therapeutic target of 10°C. This cryotherapy method might offer an effective alternative for digital cooling.

  • horses
  • hypothermia
  • laminitis
  • foot conditions
  • hoof

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  • Contributors JO designed and executed the study. JM and JO contributed to data analysis, interpretation and preparation of the manuscript. DS contributed to data analysis, interpretation and manuscript preparation. ML and SC assisted in study execution, data collection and interpretation of results. All authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation, Roemer Foundation and Spot Castle Memorial Fund.

  • Competing interests The ice boot and packs were provided by MacKinnon Products as an in-kind donation. The company had no input in study design, execution, data analysis or manuscript preparation.

  • Ethics approval All procedures were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC protocol #804565).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The raw data from individual cryotherapy trials are available upon request. To request this information please contract Jessica Morgan by email at

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