Septic arthritis is typically identified by severe lameness and distention of the joint with cloudy, turbid synovial fluid that contains )30,000 WBC/mm3 and an overall protein level of )4 g/dL.
In foals, hematogenous osteomyelitis commonly accompanies septic arthritis. Septic arthritis in foals has actually been identified into kind S (septic joint just), type P (involving osteomyelitis of the surrounding growth plate as well), or type E (involving osteomyelitis of the epiphyseal and subchondral bone). Various organisms may be involved.
Septic arthritis needs timely treatment to prevent irreparable damage. Systemic broad-spectrum prescription antibiotics are indicated; the preliminary choice is based upon the most likely pathogen but undergoes change based upon culture and sensitivity tests. Systemic antibiotic treatment is commonly incorporated with intra-articular antibiotics (to accomplish even more efficient sterilization of the joint) and other regional treatment, including joint lavage (at first) and arthroscopic debridement and drain. Adjunctive treatment with NSAID (eg, phenylbutazone) is likewise done. The effectiveness of treatment is monitored thoroughly with scientific signs and repeat synovial fluid analyses.