Objective—To determine the rate of development of septic arthritis after elective arthroscopy and evaluate associations between various factors and development of this complication in horses.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—682 horses that underwent arthroscopic procedures at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital from 1994 to 2003.
Procedures—Information pertaining to signalment, joints treated, whether antimicrobials were administered, and development of postoperative septic arthritis was collected from medical records. Horses with a primary problem of septic arthritis or wounds involving joints were excluded. The following factors were evaluated to determine their roles in joint sepsis: breed, sex, joint, and preoperative and intra-articular administration of antimicrobials. Telephone interviews with clients were used to determine whether unreported septic arthritis had developed.
Results—8 of 932 (0.9%) joints in 7 of 682 (1.0%) horses that underwent arthroscopy developed postoperative septic arthritis. Follow-up information after discharge from the hospital was available for 461 of the 682 horses, and of those, 8 of 627 (1.3%) joints in 7 of 461 (1.5%) horses developed septic arthritis. Breed and joint treated were significant risk factors for development of postoperative septic arthritis, with draft breeds and tibiotarsal joints more likely than others to be affected. Sex, preoperatively administered antimicrobials, and intra-articularly administered antimicrobials were not associated with development of postoperative septic arthritis.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results can be used for comparison with data from other institutions and surgical facilities. Additional precautions should be undertaken when arthroscopic surgery involves draft breeds and tibiotarsal joints.