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Vet Surg. 2013 Apr;42(3):262-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2013.01106.x. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

Postoperative septic arthritis after elective equine arthroscopy without antimicrobial prophylaxis.

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Hallands Djursjukhus, Slöinge, Björkgatan, Sweden.



To determine the frequency of postoperative septic arthritis after elective arthroscopy in the absence of prophylactic antimicrobial therapy and to report complication rate of 444 consecutive equine arthroscopies.


Retrospective case series.


Horses (n = 444).


Medical records of 444 consecutive elective equine arthroscopies (2008-2010) were reviewed. Horses that had septic arthritis on admission or those admitted for tenoscopy and bursoscopy, or had arthroscopic assisted internal fracture fixation were not included. Age and sex of horse, duration of anesthesia, joint examined, number of portals, surgeon, postoperative complications, date of complication, and number of septic joints were recorded.


For 444 horses, 636 joints were explored. Nineteen horses had 20 complications (fever [n = 9], surgical site infection [3], cellulitis [1], wounds associated with inappropriate bandaging [2], limb swelling postsuture removal [1], medical colic [1], septic joint [3]). Horses with septic joints did not have any other complications. The incidence of sepsis was 0.5% joints or 0.7% horses. All horses survived and returned to function.


Joint infection rate in the horse population that had elective arthroscopy without antimicrobial prophylaxis compares favorably with other reports citing 0.9% sepsis in horses after arthroscopy in which horses received either no antimicrobials or were administered pre or perioperative antimicrobial therapy.

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