Can Foals With Septic Arthritis Go On To Successful Racing Careers?

Drs. Thomas O’Brien, Sarah Rosanowski, Keith Mitchell, Joan Carrick, Troy Butt and Angus Adkins completed a retrospective study of 114 Thoroughbred foals that had septic arthritis and compared them to their maternal siblings.

Foals involved with the study had undergone treatments for septic arthritis over a 6-year period. These treatments included arthroscopic, cannulae or through-and-through needle lavage. The stifle joint was the most affected (35 percent of foals), with hocks (20 percent affected) not far behind.

In total, 130 synovial fluid samples were cultured; bacterial growth was detected in 80 percent of samples. Thirty-nine of the foals needed repeat lavage of the synovial joint structure to clear the infection.

Overall, 90 foals were discharged alive (78 percent). Foals that were less than 26 days old when they were admitted were five times less likely to be discharged alive. Foals that were also afflicted with multisystemic disease were six times less likely to be discharged alive.

The researchers found that 67 percent of foals discharged alive started in one or more races; there was no difference in the proportion of foals that started or in racing performance between foals that had been treated for septic arthritis and their maternal siblings.

The scientists conclude that the prognosis for the survival of foals with septic arthritis is good and that future racing performance does not seem to be affected by this infection.

Read the published piece here.

Read more at EquiManagement.

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