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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1991 May 1;198(9):1655-61.

Relations among synovial membrane histopathologic findings, synovial fluid cytologic findings, and bacterial culture results in horses with suspected infectious arthritis: 64 cases (1979-1987).

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Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square 19348.


A retrospective evaluation of 64 cases of suspected infectious arthritis in horses was undertaken to determine the relations among histopathologic findings in synovial membrane specimens, cytologic findings in synovial fluid samples, and bacterial culture results. Positive cultures were obtained from 55% of the joints, and 18 different bacterial organisms were cultured. Culturing of synovial fluid yielded bacterial growth more often than did culturing of synovial membrane. Histologic evaluation (H&E and Gram stain) of synovial membrane specimens provided little information to help distinguish infected from culture-negative joints. We do not advocate the routine use of closed synovial biopsy in suspected cases of equine septic arthritis.

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