ObjectiveTo evaluate chemical arthrodesis using sodium monoiodoacetate for treatment of degenerative joint disease of the tarsometatarsal and distal intertarsal joints.

DesignRetrospective clinical study.

MethodHorses were diagnosed with degenerative joint disease of one or more of the tarsometatarsal or distal inter-tarsal joints based on history, lameness examination, radi-ographic findings and, in some cases, response to intra-artic-ular anaesthesia or medication. Intra-articular injections of sodium monoiodoacetate were performed using 23 gauge needles in the sedated, standing horse. Positive contrast arthrography of the distal intertarsal joint was performed in all horses to evaluate needle placement and the presence or absence of communication with other synovial structures. The mean intra-articular dose of sodium monoiodoacetate was 192 mg. Horses were subject to a graded exercise program commencing 7 to 10 days after treatment. Where possible, follow up lameness examination and radiography was performed at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after treatment.

ResultsAt 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after treatment, respectively, 0/57, 14/55, 41/50, and 29/34 of horses were sound. At 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after treatment, respectively, 5/55, 24/38, 26/30 and 18/18 of horses had radiographic evidence of anky-losis of treated joints. Post injection pain was marked in 6.7% of horses and significant complications requiring further treatment occurred in 3.8% of horses.

ConclusionsChemical arthrodesis using sodium mono-iodoacetate was an effective treatment method for degenerative joint disease of the distal tarsal joints. The technique was performed in the sedated standing horse and required minimal equipment. Results were comparable to those achieved following surgical arthrodesis. The risk of significant complications was minimised through good technique using an appropriate injection volume and concentration.