Treatment of septic arthritis of the coxofemoral joint in 12 foals

Barceló Oliver F, Russell TM, Uprichard KL, Neil KM, Pollock PJ. Vet Surg. 2017 May; 46 (4): 530-538.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical signs, surgical treatment, and outcome of septic arthritis of the coxofemoral joint in foals.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective clinical study.

SAMPLE POPULATION: Foals (n = 12) with confirmed sepsis of the coxofemoral joint.

METHODS: Lameness was localized to the coxofemoral joint based on physical examination. Sepsis was confirmed by cytological analysis of synovial fluid obtained under ultrasonographic guidance, during general anesthesia or standing sedation. Intra-articular analgesia was used as an adjunct diagnostic modality in 2 foals. Surgical lavage of the affected joint was performed via arthroscopy or needle lavage, with repeated lavage performed in 7 foals.

RESULTS: Synovial fluid contained 4.4 to 173 × 109 /L white blood cells (WBCs), and 38-63 g/L total protein. Cultures were positive in 10/12 foals. Isolated organisms included Salmonella spp., Streptococcus spp., Rhodococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., Escherichia spp., Staphylococcus spp., Acinetobacter spp., Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus spp. Ten foals were discharged from hospital (83%). One of these was euthanized 15 days later due to chronic intestinal salmonellosis and renal failure, and 9 foals survived with no residual lameness detected 1 year after discharge from hospital.

CONCLUSIONS: Sepsis of the coxofermoral joint can be effectively treated with a combination of arthroscopic lavage and the use of systemic and local antimicrobials.