Samples of synovial fluid and synovial membrane were obtained from the hock joints of several groups of broilers, including lame birds and two strains of broilers raised on different feeding regimens and given different drug treatments (carprofen or placebo). There were more significant differences between the groups on the basis of the analysis of the synovial fluid samples than the synovial membrane samples. Experimental birds fed ad libitum had the highest median red blood cell counts and median ghost cell counts of all of the groups, but there were no differences between the groups in the thickness of the synovial lining cell layer or the degree of cellular infiltrate in the synovial membrane. The synovial fluid from the broilers and lame birds fed ad libitum was more turbid, suggestive of intra-articular pathology, and the large numbers of heterophils in samples from the lame birds indicated an inflammatory arthropathy. The birds fed ad libitum which were treated with carprofen had more cells in the synovial fluid than the birds given the placebo. A large number of the samples of synovial fluid from the ad libitum-fed broilers contained blood.
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