Objective: To describe partial removal of the intrathecal component of the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) in horses with chronic septic DDF tendonitis and tenosynovitis unresponsive to conventional therapy, and to report long-term outcome.
Study Design: Case series.
Animals: Horses (n=4).
Methods: Four horses with chronic septic DDF tendonitis and tenosynovitis were treated by surgical tenectomy of the intrathecal component of the DDFT, followed by stabilization in casts and subsequent corrective shoeing. All horses were previously managed unsuccessfully with combinations of conventional therapy consisting of systemic antibiotics, through and through tendon sheath lavage/open drainage, regional limb perfusions, tenoscopy with debridement and transection of the palmar/plantar annular ligament, and intrathecal antibiotics.
Results: Time from initial injury/diagnosis to tenectomy ranged from 10 to 210 days. Mean hospitalization time after surgery was 82 days. Long-term follow-up (>1.5 years; mean, 3.8 years) was available. All 4 horses were able to walk comfortably at pasture and were used as broodmares.
Conclusions: Intrathecal tenectomy is a viable surgical procedure for treatment of chronic septic tenosynovitis of the digital sheath that is complicated by septic tendonitis of the DDFT.