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Tenosynovitis of the Tendon Sheaths Associated with the Carpus in Horses


There are several forms of tenosynovitis, including idiopathic, acute traumatic, chronic traumatic, and septic. In the idiopathic form, there is no lameness and synovial effusion localized to the tendon sheath is the only manifestation. It may be seen in the common digital extensor tendon sheath or the extensor carpi radialis tendon sheath; these can be differentiated by knowledge of anatomy. Traumatic forms of tenosynovitis are seen in older animals. In the acute stage, there is fluid distention; in the chronic stage, fibrosis may be present as well. Treatment consists of systemic and local anti-inflammatory therapy (eg, phenylbutazone therapy for 5–7 days). DMSO can be applied topically to the injured area for 7–10 days. In chronic cases in jumpers, surgical debridement may be helpful. Septic tenosynovitis of the carpus is rare. When it is seen, there are acute signs of lameness, heat, and swelling as seen in septic arthritis.

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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