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Acta Vet Scand. 1996;37(3):265-72.

Unstable stifles without clinical or radiographic osteoarthritis in young goats: an experimental study.

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Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine, Oslo, Norway.


Thirteen young, castrated male goats had instability of one stifle (knee joint) created by surgical transection of the cranial cruciate ligament, but did not develop any signs of osteoarthritis (OA) in treated joints when confined in limited space for 8 months. At the end of the experiment, the instability in the stifles had not improved, the joints were normal at radiographic examination, there were no signs of inflammation in the synovial membrane or joint capsule, and fibrosis in these tissues was not evident. The articular cartilage was normal both visually and histologically. This may indicate that the young age of the goats and the restricted physical activity on soft floor had prevented the expected development of OA in the experimentally operated joints. Synovial fluid volumes and proteoglycan concentration were measured in the treated and control joints in 6 of the goats. There seemed to be increased quantity of the proteoglycan aggrecan in the synovial fluid from the treated joints compared to the contralateral joints throughout the course of this study. It was concluded that the turnover of aggrecan in the articular cartilage of the treated joints may have been increased.

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