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The antebrachiocarpal and tarsocrural joints of 10 adult horses were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups. Groups were formulated and were treated as follows: group 1, control (arthrocentesis only); group 2, buffered lactated Ringer solution; group 3, 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (dmso; w/v) in lactated Ringer solution; and group 4, 30% dmso (w/v) in lactated Ringer solution. Joints were lavaged once with the respective solution. Prior to lavage and on days 1, 4, and 8 after lavage, all horses were evaluated for lameness and joint effusion; synovial fluid total and differential wbc counts, synovial fluid total protein concentration, and mucin clot quality were determined. Horses were euthanatized on day 8, and joints were evaluated grossly, histologically, and histochemically.

Significant difference was not observed in effect of lactated Ringer solution, 10% dmso, and 30% dmso on any measured variable. At 24 hours after treatment, significant (P < 0.05) difference in synovial fluid wbc numbers and total protein concentration was detected between control and treated joints. Eighty percent of lavaged joints had effusion 24 hours after treatment, compared with 30% of control joints.

Gross, histopathologic, or histochemical differences were not detected between treated and control joints. Results of the study indicate that buffered lactated Ringer, 10% dmso, and 30% dmso solutions induce similar inflammatory changes in articular structures and significantly greater inflammatory reaction than does arthrocentesis alone.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research