Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of lameness in horses. Treatment of the disease involves management of pain and clinical signs; it can include the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) orally, topically or as an injection.
A new gel is being tested to alleviate pain in horses with osteoarthritis. Injected directly into the joint, the polyacrylamide hydrogel has been used in humans to alleviate osteoarthritis pain in the knee. Dr. Scott McClure, DVM and owner of Midwest Equine Surgery & Sports Medicine in Iowa, used the gel in two studies and reported on his findings at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention, reports The Horse.
The first study injected the gel into the fetlock joints of six healthy horses; the researcher examined that gel's affect on the horse's tissue structure, clinical signs and metabolic effects. Synovial fluid was evaluated four times and the cartilage and synovial membranes were studied.
It was determined that the gel was visible on the membrane during the course of the study and that no adverse effects were seen.
The second study involved 28 horses that had naturally occurring osteoarthritis. The gel was administered and the horses evaluated. The injection was deemed successful if it decreased the horse's lameness by at least one grade, reduced joint swelling and pain, or improved range of motion.
It was determined that none of the horses had adverse reactions to the injection. Average lameness scores decreased and 82 percent of horses showed improvement 45 days after the injection; 75 percent of horses were still showed improvement 90 days after the injection.
It was determined that the polyacrylamide hydrogel, delivered as a joint injection, decreased lameness in horses with naturally occurring osteoarthritis.
Read more at The Horse.
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