Joint injections are one of the most commonly performed procedures in sport horse practice. Typically joints are injected with a combination of hyaluronic acid and a corticosteroid, along with a small amount of antibiotic to help prevent infection. Hyaluronic acid is natural component of joint fluid – it acts as a cushion and lubricant within the joint, protecting the synovial membrane and articular cartilage. Hyaluronic acid also has some anti-inflammatory properties, however corticosteroids are typically also included in most joint injections as a more potent way to treat inflammation. Inflammation within a joint may be a result of joint capsule irritation, known as synovitis, or could be a result of cartilage damage and degenerative joint disease, known as osteoarthritis. Commonly performed injections include: hock injections, stifle injections, coffin joint injections, as well as ultrasound-guided injections of the SI (sacroilliac) and neck (cervical vertebral facet injections).
CYCLE OF DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE
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