THE MERCK VETERINARY MANUAL
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Osteoarthritis and other Coxofemoral Joint Diseases in Horses

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Osteoarthritis (OA) of the coxofemoral joint is usually secondary to major trauma such as luxation or fracture of the joint. Occasionally, idiopathic OA is diagnosed as a cause of chronic lameness. Cases of osteochondrosis or bone cyst formation within the coxofemoral joint have been reported, which can lead to secondary OA. Septic arthritis of the coxofemoral joint is seen occasionally in foals as a consequence of hematogenous spread or idiopathically in adult animals.

In cases of established OA, treatment is usually symptomatic, using NSAID, intra-articular corticosteroids, or other symptomatic treatments. In cases of septic arthritis, treatment should consist of surgical debridement and lavage in conjunction with local and systemic antimicrobial therapy. In cases of OA, full recovery is unusual. Successful treatment of septic arthritis is possible in foals but unlikely in adult horses unless diagnosed quickly and treated aggressively.

Last full review/revision March 2012 by Stephen B. Adams, DVM, MS, DACVS; Joerg A. Auer, DrMedVet, Dr h c, MS, DACVS, DECVS; James K. Belknap, DVM, PhD, DACVS; Jane C. Boswell, MA, VetMB, CertVA, CertES (Orth), DECVS, MRCVS; Peter Clegg, MA, Vet MB, PhD, CertEO, DECVS, MRCVS; Andrew L. Crawford, BVetMed, CertES (Orth), MRCVS; Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, Agregé; Marcus J. Head, BVetMed, MRCVS; C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, DACVS, DACVSMR; James Schumacher, DVM, MS, DACVS, MRCVS; John Schumacher, DVM, MS, DACVIM; Roger K. W. Smith, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, DECVS, MRCVS; Chris Whitton, BVSc, FACVSc, PhD

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