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Retrospective study of the effect of intra-articular treatment of osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints in 51 horses
  1. R. Labens, MagMedVet, DEC-EQ, CertES(Orth), MVM, MRCVS1,
  2. L. C. Voûte, BVSc, CertES(Orth), MRCVS1 and
  3. D. J. Mellor, BVMS, PhD, DipECVPH, MRCVS2
  1. 1 Weipers Centre for Equine Welfare, Division of Companion Animal Sciences, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH
  2. 2 Comparative Epidemiology and Informatics, Institute of Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH
  1. Mr Labens' present address is College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh NC 27606, USA


Osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints, affecting the centrodistal and tarsometatarsal joints, is a common cause of hindlimb lameness in horses. This paper describes the outcome of the intra-articular treatment of 51 horses with the condition with either methylprednisolone acetate (mpa) or triamcinolone acetonide (tr), either with or without hyaluronic acid (ha). The outcome was assessed in terms of the changes in the horses' grade of lameness. Follow-up information was obtained from the owners by means of a telephone questionnaire. Horses treated once with mpa or tr, either with or without ha, improved after a median of 56 days (P<0·0001), and there was no significant difference between mpa and tr. There was no significant further improvement in the horses treated twice. In the horses in which there was a diffuse increase in the uptake of a radiopharmaceutical by the distal tarsal joints, identified by scintigraphy, the lameness tended to improve (P=0·032), whereas in the horses in which the uptake was focal, it did not. At telephone follow-up 13 of 34 horses were reported to have had a positive outcome, but the outcome in the other 21 was reported to have been negative.

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