Clinical use of antimicrobial regional limb perfusion in horses: 174 cases (1999–2009)

Luis M. Rubio-Martínez, Colette R. Elmas, Belinda Black, Gabrielle Monteith
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
December 15, 2012

Objective—To describe the clinical use of regional limb perfusion with antimicrobials (A-RLP), complications, and outcome in a large series of patients.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—174 horses.

Procedures—Medical records of horses treated with A-RLP between 1999 and 2009 were reviewed. Signalment, primary complaint, horse use, etiology, duration of clinical signs, previous treatment, structures involved, concurrent conditions, A-RLP characteristics, additional treatments, complications, and outcome were recorded. At long-term follow-up, 2 outcomes were investigated: survival rate and return to previous use at the same or higher level. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted.

Results—Group 1 (96 horses) included septic synovitis. Group 2 (50 horses) included extrasynovial lacerations (23 horses) and fresh, minimally contaminated intrasynovial lacerations without evidence of established synovial infection (27 horses). Group 3 (28 horses) included miscellaneous other conditions. Only minor complications were reported in 12.26% of horses that received IV (n = 155) and 33% of horses that received intraosseous (27) A-RLP. Horses with septic synovitis had a lower survival rate (53.43%) than did horses with lacerations (91.89%). Within group 2, no significant differences in short- or long-term outcomes were found between horses with extrasynovial and fresh, minimally contaminated intrasynovial lacerations. For the horses returning to previous use, 80% of horses with septic synovitis and 72.72% of horses with lacerations were performing at the same or higher level at the time of follow-up.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The results of the present study indicated that A-RLP is a safe technique with minimal adverse effects. The IV route presented fewer complications than intraosseous injection. Horses with infection of synovial structures had a lower survival rate than did those with acute, minimally contaminated intrasynovial lacerations. The latter had a similar prognosis for horses with extrasynovial lacerations treated with A-RLP.