Evaluation of Ethyl Alcohol for Use in a Minimally Invasive Technique for Equine Proximal Interphalangeal Joint Arthrodesis


Corresponding Author
Ryan R. E. Wolker, DVM, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1
E-mail: ryan.wolker@usask.ca


Objective: To determine whether intra-articular 70% ethyl alcohol alone (IAEA) or in combination with 2 percutaneously placed transarticular lag screws (EA-TLS) would result in arthrodesis of the equine proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint.

Study Design: Experimental.

Animals: Healthy horses (n=6), aged 1.5–3 years, free of lameness, diagonally paired front and hind PIP joints.

Methods: Six milliliters 70% ethyl alcohol was injected into randomly selected diagonally paired front and hind PIP joints. Thirty days later, 2 parallel 5.5 mm cortical screws were inserted in lag fashion across the hind PIP joints and the limbs were cast. Horses were confined for 60 days after surgery before free exercise was permitted. Serial lameness examinations were performed at 1, 6, and 10 months. Radiographs of the PIP joints were obtained before injection with alcohol (front, hind PIP joints), at 6 and 10 months (front PIP joints) and 1, 3, 6, and 10 months (hind PIP joints). At 10 months, horses were euthanatized and gross and histopathologic examination of the treated joints was performed.

Results: Horses had variable cartilage thinning (more severe in hind PIP joints) and dorsal bone proliferation. One front and 1 hind PIP joint were fused 10 months after alcohol injection.

Conclusions: Ethyl alcohol injected alone or in combination with percutaneously placed transarticular lag screws failed to reliably produce fusion of the PIP joint.