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Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2011 Nov-Dec;52(6):627-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8261.2011.01844.x.

Magnetic resonance imaging in foals with infectious arthritis.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Section of Diagnostic Imaging, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Skip Bertman Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.


The magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings of foals with infectious and noninfectious arthritis are described. Six foals with infectious arthritis and three foals with noninfectious arthritis were grouped based on synovial fluid analysis results and examined with radiography and MR imaging. Four out of six foals with infectious arthritis had osseous lesions in MR images indicative of osteomyelitis and only 4/19 lesions were detected on digital radiographs. The three foals with noninfectious arthritis had no osseous lesions in MR images or radiographically. Of the six joints that had osseous lesions detected with MR imaging, three had at least one lytic lesion detected radiographically. Osseous lesions in the epiphysis, metaphysis, and physis appeared in MR images as T2W, short tau inversion recovery, and proton density hyperintense foci with a hypointense halo. The same lesions appeared hyperintense in the 3D RSSG water excitation pulse sequence but lacked a surrounding hypointense halo. Most joints of foals with infectious arthritis had heterogenous signals within the synovial fluid whereas all of the nonseptic joints had homogenous synovial fluid signals. MR imaging appears to be better than radiography in the detection of osseous lesions in foals diagnosed with infectious arthritis and may be a valuable screening test for the presence of osteomyelitis.

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