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'He Had His Little Strut Back': Dog Owners Turning To Cryotherapy To Help Old, Sick Pets

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A popular treatment for people is catching on for dogs. It's cryotherapy for our four-legged friends.

Along the lines of putting ice on an injury, this is about the benefits of super cold therapy. Cryotherapy takes it a step further and now it's helping pets, too.

It's every dog owner's dread -- their beloved pet gets old and sick. That's what happened to 16-year-old Jake.

"He was just laying in bed, he was tired," Jake's owner, Karisa Sieverding, said. "Anybody that's had a dog or had to go through that knows how difficult it can be to start discussing what was coming next."

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Instead of waiting for the inevitable, Sieverding tried cryotherapy.

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"Our goal has been to give another alternative to pain management that does not involve drugs or opioids or any other aggressive means of treatment," Tara Mechaley, owner of They Body Spa, said.

Cryotherapy exposes the patient to a brief blast of extreme cold, usually in a whole body machine. Jake received a localized cryo-treatment to reduce inflammation and improve healing.

"We brought him in for his first session and he had his little strut back. When he shook out afterwards, his body shake went all the way through his hips."

While some studies have shown cryotherapy can be helpful for pets, for humans, it's popular for a variety of problems.

"PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, to just wanting overall wellness to our athletes, who were looking for a faster, easier way to recover as well," Mechaley said.

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The FDA says whole body cyrotherapy has not been cleared or approved. But for Jake, it worked.

"It's an attitude change. The comfort level that he has, he's excited," Sieverding said.

Experts say instead of taking dogs to spas for humans, it's better to find a veterinarian who offers cryotherapy.

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