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Idiopathic immune-mediated polysynovitis in three horses
  1. N. Pusterla, DrMedVet, DACVIM1,
  2. S. M. Pratt, DVM, DABVP1,
  3. K. G. Magdesian, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC1 and
  4. G. P. Carlson, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP1
  1. 1 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA


This paper describes the clinical, laboratory and histological findings in three horses with immune-mediated polysynovitis; they had lost weight, suffered intermittent fever, were lethargic and stiff, and had effusions in several joints. Laboratory abnormalities included anaemia, leucocytosis, hyperfibrinogenaemia and hyperglobulinaemia. The diagnosis was based on the presence of a suppurative, non-septic inflammation in at least two different joints in each of the horses and the presence of immunoglobulins in the synovial membrane of one of them. The horses were treated with a combination of dexamethasone and azathioprine, and responded well to the initial treatment. Twenty months after its last re-evaluation, the first horse was being maintained on azathioprine because similar clinical signs had recurred after the cytotoxic drug was discontinued; the second horse was finishing a tapering course of prednisolone 15 months after its first examination, and the third horse was euthanased five months after it was first examined as a result of an unrelated injury.

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