OBJECTIVE To determine reference intervals for total nucleated cell count, total protein concentration, pH, RBC count, and percentages of neutrophils, lymphocytes, and large mononuclear cells in synovial fluid samples (SFSs) obtained from the carpal and tarsal joints of healthy swine.
ANIMALS 54 healthy commercial finisher pigs that had no evidence of lameness or gross joint swelling.
PROCEDURES Each pig was anesthetized, and SFSs were collected from 1 carpal and 1 tarsal joint for fluid analysis, cytologic evaluation, bacterial culture, and PCR analyses for common swine joint pathogens. Each pig was euthanized after SFS collection, and synovial tissue samples were collected for histologic assessment. If necessary, postmortem SFSs were collected.
RESULTS Overall, 37 of 50 tarsal and 46 of 53 carpal SFSs met inclusion criteria of sufficient volume, no gross blood contamination, and negative results of bacterial culture and PCR analyses, and were from joints with histologically normal synovial tissues. For the carpal and tarsal joints, upper reference limits were as follows: total nucleated cell count, 3,281 cells/μL and 2,368 cells/μL, respectively; total protein concentration, 3.6 g/dL and 3.6 g/dL, respectively; pH, 7.2 and 7.0, respectively; RBC count, 0.8 × 106 cells/μL and 0.1 × 106 cells/μL, respectively; and percentage of neutrophils, 46.5% and 33.7%, respectively; percentage of lymphocytes, 40.6% and 56.3%, respectively; and percentage of large mononuclear cells, 92.0% and 95.3%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results have provided reference intervals for selected variables in SFSs obtained from the carpal and the tarsal joints of healthy swine, which should be useful in diagnostic investigations of swine lameness and arthritis.