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- Author or Editor: Ryan R. E. Wolker x
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Objective—To assess the safety and efficacy of alcohol-facilitated ankylosis of the distal intertarsal (DIT) and tarsometatarsal (TMT) joints in horses with osteoarthritis (bone spavin).
Design—Prospective clinical trial.
Animals—21 horses with DIT or TMT joint-associated hind limb lameness and 5 nonlame horses.
Procedures—11 horses (group 1) underwent lameness, force-plate, and radiographic examinations; following intra-articular analgesia, lameness and force-plate examinations were repeated. Nonlame horses were used for force-plate data acquisition only. Following localization of lameness to the DIT and TMT joints, contrast arthrographic evaluation was performed; when communication with the tibiotarsal joint was not evident or suspected, 70% ethyl alcohol (3 mL) was injected. Group 1 horses underwent lameness, force-plate, and radiographic examinations every 3 months for 1 year. Ten other horses (group 2) underwent lameness and radiographic examinations followed by joint injection with alcohol; follow-up information was obtained from owners or via clinical examination.
Results—Significant postinjection reduction in lameness (after 3 days to 3 months) was evident for all treated horses. Twelve months after injection, 10 of 11 group 1 horses were not lame; lameness grade was 0.5 in 1 horse. Follow-up information was available for 9 of 10 group 2 horses; 7 were not lame, and 2 remained mildly lame (1 had a concurrent problem in the injected limb, and the other had DIT joint collapse that precluded needle entry).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Intra-articular alcohol injection in horses with bone spavin resulted in a rapid (usually within 3 months) reduction in lameness and joint space collapse.