Current joint therapy usage in equine practice: A survey of veterinarians 2009



Reasons for performing study: Medications are frequently employed to treat intra-articular (IA) problems in the performance horse. Actual usage of the different IA medications in horses is not available.

Objectives: To determine the most common usage of these medications, members of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) were surveyed.

Methods: An email link to an online survey was electronically sent to 6305 AAEP members and the responses tabulated and analysed with a logistic regression model.

Results: A total of 831 survey responses were submitted and tabulated. Eighty per cent of the respondents indicated that they see 100% equine cases in their practice. The majority of respondents (77%) use triamcinolone acetonide (TA) to treat high motion joints and 73% use methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) to treat low motion joints. Veterinarians treating the Western performance and Sport horse were significantly more likely to use TA in high motion joints compared to MPA (P = 0.0201 and P<0.0001, respectively). Triamcinolone acetonide use compared to MPA in high motion joints by racehorse veterinarians was significantly lower compared to other veterinarians (P<0.0001). Polysulphated glycosaminoglycan (Adequan) and hyaluronate sodium (Legend) were the most commonly used disease modifying products (63 and 57% of respondents, respectively). Sport horse practitioners were significantly more likely than race or show horse veterinarians to utilise IRAP products (P = 0.0035 and P = 0.04, respectively). Respondents who had been in practice for more than 10 years were significantly less likely to use antimicrobials in their joint injections compared to those in practice for less than 10 years (P<0.0001).

Conclusions: Significant differences existed in usage of medications related to primary discipline treated and years practicing.

Potential relevance: The results of this study aid in defining the current usage of different joint therapy medications within equine practice. This knowledge can guide further research as well as education.