Treatment of Septic Arthritis in Calves by Joint Lavage - A Study of 20 Cases

P G G Jackson, W D Strachan, A W Tucker, N Martin-Smith, S B Knudsen, P M D Jones
1. October 1998
Cases of septic arthritis in calves seen at an early stage may respond to parenteral antibiotic therapy alone. Non - responsive or more advanced cases rapidly develop painful, self perpetuating and potentially crippling pathological changes in affected joints. Twenty calves suffering from septic arthritis which had not responded to parenteral antibiotic therapy were treated using joint lavage under general anaesthesia. Fourteen calves had single joint pathology involving chiefly the carpus (five cases), stifle (five cases) and hock (three cases). Six calves had two or more joints affected. Cases involving the hock had the best prognosis, those involving the stifle had the poorest. The severity of joint lesions was assessed by clinical examination including the degree of lameness, radiography and joint fluid cytology. 16 of 20 calves (80%) responded to joint lavage treatment with the majority requiring two or more flushes.

Keywords: Calves, septic arthritis, joint lavage

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