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Objective— To evaluate arthrodesis as a treatment for carpometacarpal joint osteoarthritis (CMC-OA).

Study Design— Case series.

Animals— Horses (n=12) with CMC-OA.

Methods— Arthrodesis was facilitated by insertion and fanning of a drill bit into the CMC joint at several (3–5) locations in 15 limbs. Follow-up radiographs were obtained for 7 horses (9 limbs). Outcome was determined by telephone survey of owners based on postoperative pain, return to use, appearance of the limb, and success of treatment.

Results— Postoperative pain was slight or moderate in 10 of 12 (83%) horses during the first 30 days, and 11 of 12 (92%) horses were markedly improved by 6 months and capable of returning to work. Radiographically 6 CMC joints had a bony ankylosis at follow-up whereas 3 did not (mean 8.7 months). On long-term follow-up (mean 28.6 months) all horses had reduced severity of lameness, 10 of 12 (83%) were considered “sound,” 8 (67%) returned to their original activity, and all owners considered arthrodesis highly successful as a treatment.

Conclusion— A drilling technique that produced CMC arthrodesis, allowed most horses to return to their original activity and was considered successful by all clients.

Clinical Relevance— Arthrodesis of the CMC joint should be considered a treatment option for CMC-OA.