Synovial and serum levels of triamcinolone following intra-articular administration of triamcinolone acetonide in the horse


  • *Published as Florida Agricultural Station Journal Series No. R-00922.

Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Box J-136 JHMHC, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610–0136, USA.


Seven mature thoroughbred horses, weighing between 400 and 541 kg, were each injected intra-articularly into three joints with 6 mg/joint of triamcinolone acetonide (Vetalog). The fourth joint, the control, was injected with saline. Synovial fluid was taken from all four legs of the horses on days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 15 following the injections. Triamcinolone acetonide was assayed by a radioimmunoassay. Blood was collected at 1, 2, 4, 6, 12 h and on days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 15 following injection of either triamcinolone or saline. Both cortisol and triamcinolone were assayed. The results show that the synovial fluid level of triamcinolone was 7.5 μg/ml 1 day following treatment and decreased to 10 ng/ml by the 4th day. These low levels were maintained for approximately 14 days. By the 15th day, the triamcinolone was below a detectable level. Serum levels of triamcinolone increased to 3 ng/ml within 1 h and further increased to a peak of 4.3 ng/ml at 4th h. The level then decreased to 2 ng/ml at 24 h and to nearly an undetectable level in 48 h. The mean level of serum cortisol, on the other hand, gradually decreased as the serum level of triamcinolone increased. As the serum level of triamcinolone reached an undetectable level on the 2nd day, the serum cortisol level gradually increased and returned to the pre-administration level by the 5th day. These results showed that the intra-articular administration of triarncinolone maintained triamcinolone in the synovial fluid for 4–14 days and that the triamcinolone reached the blood within 1 h. The serum level of triamcinolone was maintained for 2 days and resulted in the inhibition of adrenal function for 4 days.