Wounds and Infections

Wounds & Infections back.jpgWounds are an all-to-frequent occurrence to horses.  Some wounds are simple and require minimal medical attention while others involving vital structures often require emergency treatment and surgical management.  Wound treatment is managed according to the location, severity and duration of the injury.

Infections of synovial structures, such as joints, tendon sheaths, and bursae, are serious conditions that are best managed with endoscopic lavage and debridement.  An endoscope can be used to visualize the infected structures while endoscopic instruments aid in removing inflammatory products and damaged tissue. The endoscopic portals may be left open to allow for continued drainage and/or further access for post-operative lavage.  In the picture to right, the endoscope has been placed into the navicular bursa and infected tissue is being removed through a portal made through the sole of the foot. 

Bone infections (also known as septic osteitis or osteomyelitis) are serious conditions that may result from previous trauma to the bone.  Such infections often require surgical debridement and curettage, or removal of the diseased bone. 

In addition to surgical management, synovial infections and bone infections also require diligent systemic antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory therapy.  Ideally, antimicrobial therapy should be based upon the results of bacterial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.    Additional therapies also performed at the New Jersey Equine Clinic include regional limb perfusions (local antimicrobial therapy) and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.