EQUUS - - Medical Front -

In­ject­ing cor­ti­cos­teroids or other anti-in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tions di­rectly into equine joints can be highly ef­fec­tive in treat­ing arthri­tis or other in­flam­ma­tory con­di­tions. But there’s al­ways a worry that an in­ter­ven­tion into the joint space will cause syn­ovial sep­sis, an in­fec­tion that can lead to dev­as­tat­ing dam­age to car­ti­lage and other cru­cial joint struc­tures. Now a study from Eng­land sug­gests that the risk of this com­pli­ca­tion is ex­tremely low.

For the study, re­searchers at Ross­dales Equine Hos­pi­tal in New­mar­ket re­viewed the records of 9,456 in­jec­tions in mainly race­horses who re­ceived in­trasyn­ovial med­i­ca­tions over a five-year pe­riod. All of the in­jec­tions were per­formed by vet­eri­nar­i­ans in the field, as op­posed to a hos­pi­tal setting.

When the in­jec­tion records were cross-ref­er­enced with lab­o­ra­tory re­ports and hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sion records, the re­searchers found that only four of the horses (.04 per­cent) devel­oped post-in­jec­tion syn­ovial sep­sis. The cases of in­fec­tion were as­so­ci­ated with a va­ri­ety of med­i­ca­tions---one horse had been given an­tibi­otics con­cur­rently---and all the in­fec­tions were treated suc­cess­fully. The re­searchers re­port that all of the af­fected horses re­turned to rac­ing.

Ref­er­ence: “Syn­ovial sep­sis is rare fol­low­ing in­trasyn­ovial med­i­ca­tion in equine am­bu­la­tory prac­tice,” Equine Vet­eri­nary Jour­nal, De­cem­ber 2018

LOW RISK: A ret­ro­spec­tive study of horses who re­ceived joint in­jec­tions showed that sub­se­quent joint in­fec­tions were very rare.

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