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Effect of anesthetizing individual compartments of the stifle joint in horses with experimentally induced stifle joint lameness

Ferenc Tóth DVM, PhD1, Jim Schumacher DVM, MS2, Michael C. Schramme DVM, PhD3, and Silke Hecht Dr med vet4
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  • 1 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 2 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 3 VetAgro Sup, Campus veterinaire de Lyon, Département hippique, 1 Ave Bourgelat, 69280 Marcy l'Etoile, France.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effects of sequential anesthesia of the individual compartments of the equine stifle joint on lameness induced by intra-articular deposition of interleukin (IL)-1β.

Animals—6 horses.

Procedures—For each horse, baseline hind limb lameness was first evaluated. A randomly selected compartment of 1 stifle joint was then injected with IL-1β to induce synovitis and lameness; subsequently, the same compartment was anesthetized with 2% mepivacaine hydrochloride, and lameness was reevaluated. Two weeks later, baseline lameness was evaluated, and lameness was similarly induced; thereafter, the 2 synovial compartments of the stifle joint not injected with IL-1β were anesthetized sequentially in random order (ie, first and second blocks); lameness was evaluated after each block. Finally, the IL-1β–treated compartment was anesthetized (third block); lameness was again evaluated. This second experiment was repeated for the contralateral stifle joint 2 weeks later. Throughout the study, lameness was quantified objectively by assessing vertical pelvic movement asymmetry with a wireless, inertial sensor-based system.

Results—Intra-articular deposition of IL-1β induced lameness in all injected limbs. In the first experiment, anesthesia of the compartment injected with IL-1β resulted in a significant decrease in lameness, with vertical pelvic movement asymmetry approaching baseline. In the second experiment, lameness improved significantly after the second and third blocks and was almost completely abolished after all 3 synovial compartments were anesthetized.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses, lameness caused by a lesion in 1 compartment of a stifle joint can be improved more by instillation of local anesthetic solution into that compartment than by anesthesia of the other compartments.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Tóth's present address is Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

Supported by an intramural grant from the University of Tennessee.

Address correspondence to Dr. Tóth (ftoth@umn.edu).