Joint Authorities–Orthopedic State of the Art (BEVA 2007)

Two veterinarians compiled the latest on equine orthopedic topics and presented it to their colleagues at the 46th British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held in Edinburgh, Scotland
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You and I both know it: we rarely have time to go through the mail and read every article in every magazine that we receive. Our veterinarians encounter the same situation along with another snag, in that on top of their normal caseload, full schedule, and regular mail, they often come home to a pile of veterinary journals chock full of studies that might be applicable to their patients. Yet, there aren’t enough hours in the day to soak it all in. To combat this problem, two veterinarians compiled the latest on equine orthopedic topics and presented it to their colleagues at the 46th British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held in Edinburgh, Scotland in September 2007. They fashioned the session after a similar, popular news-focused session held at the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ convention annually called the Kester News Hour.

Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, DSc, DrMedVet (hc), Dipl. ACVS, Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair and Professor and Director of Orthopaedic Research at Colorado State University, and Michael Schramme, DrMedVet, CertEO, PhD, Dipl. ECVS, associate professor of equine surgery and director of the Equine Orthopedic Research Laboratory at North Carolina State University, were panelists in this session. Some of the points they highlighted follow.

Intra-articular joint treatment McIlwraith reviewed a study (Kristiansen et al., Equine Veterinary Journal, 2007) out of a U.K. equine clinic that showed weekly intraarticular (IA) use of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG, or Adequan) in lameness that is abolished by coffin joint anesthesia responded very favorably. Veterinarians have balked at this method over the years due to work showing there was a risk of joint infection. However, if a trained veterinarian administers the medication according to a specific protocol, it can be safe and very useful.

The study was based on seven years of records including horses veterinarians treated with either PSGAG or methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) in the coffin joint. The scientists also had the owners complete a detailed questionnaire that allowed them to describe the horses’ state at least one year after treatment. Of the horses receiving three IA injections of PSGAG eight days apart, 67% had a successful outcome. Horses receiving a single IA injection of MPA as a first treatment, then a series of three IA PSGAG injections if the horse did not improve sufficiently to return to work by four weeks, 46% had a successful outcome

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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