Thirty-nine samples of synovial fluid were collected from the joints of 32 horses with suspected septic arthritis and 39 samples were collected from horses euthanased for non-orthopaedic conditions. The white blood cell counts (wbcc) were determined and the pro and active forms of matrix metalloproteinases (mmps) 2 and 9 were measured by gelatin zymography and image analysis in each sample. The initial measurements of the ratio of prommp9:prommp2 and wbcc were good prognostic indicators of the survival of the horses. There was no significant relationship between the interval between the injury and the horse being referred for treatment and either the wbcc or the levels of mmp2 and mmp9 initially, and no evidence that this interval significantly affected the chances of the horses surviving.
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