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Effect of warm compress application on tissue temperature in healthy dogs

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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Abstract

Objective—To measure the effect of warm compress application on tissue temperature in healthy dogs.

Animals—10 healthy mixed-breed dogs.

Procedures—Dogs were sedated with hydromorphone (0.1 mg/kg, IV) and diazepam (0.25 mg/kg, IV). Three 24-gauge thermocouple needles were inserted to a depth of 0.5 cm (superficial), 1.0 cm (middle), and 1.5 cm (deep) into a shaved, lumbar, epaxial region to measure tissue temperature. Warm (47°C) compresses were applied with gravity dependence for periods of 5, 10, and 20 minutes. Tissue temperature was recorded before compress application and at intervals for up to 80 minutes after application. Control data were collected while dogs received identical sedation but with no warm compress.

Results—Mean temperature associated with 5 minutes of heat application at the superficial, middle, and deep depths was significantly increased, compared with the control temperature. Application for 10 minutes significantly increased the temperature at all depths, compared with 5 minutes of application. Mean temperature associated with 20 minutes of application was not different at the superficial or middle depths, compared with 10 minutes of application. Temperature at the deep depth associated with 10 minutes of application was significantly higher, compared with 20 minutes of application, but all temperature increases at this depth were minimal.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that application of a warm compress should be performed for 10 minutes. Changes in temperature at a tissue depth of 1.5 cm were minimal or not detected. The optimal compress temperature to achieve therapeutic benefits was not determined.

Abstract

Objective—To measure the effect of warm compress application on tissue temperature in healthy dogs.

Animals—10 healthy mixed-breed dogs.

Procedures—Dogs were sedated with hydromorphone (0.1 mg/kg, IV) and diazepam (0.25 mg/kg, IV). Three 24-gauge thermocouple needles were inserted to a depth of 0.5 cm (superficial), 1.0 cm (middle), and 1.5 cm (deep) into a shaved, lumbar, epaxial region to measure tissue temperature. Warm (47°C) compresses were applied with gravity dependence for periods of 5, 10, and 20 minutes. Tissue temperature was recorded before compress application and at intervals for up to 80 minutes after application. Control data were collected while dogs received identical sedation but with no warm compress.

Results—Mean temperature associated with 5 minutes of heat application at the superficial, middle, and deep depths was significantly increased, compared with the control temperature. Application for 10 minutes significantly increased the temperature at all depths, compared with 5 minutes of application. Mean temperature associated with 20 minutes of application was not different at the superficial or middle depths, compared with 10 minutes of application. Temperature at the deep depth associated with 10 minutes of application was significantly higher, compared with 20 minutes of application, but all temperature increases at this depth were minimal.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that application of a warm compress should be performed for 10 minutes. Changes in temperature at a tissue depth of 1.5 cm were minimal or not detected. The optimal compress temperature to achieve therapeutic benefits was not determined.

Contributor Notes

Drs. Millard and Towle–Millard's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

The authors thank Kathy Shike for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Millard (rmdvm@hotmail.com).