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Alcohol Joint Fusion of the Hocks (chemical arthrodesis)
This technique was developed at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine as a means to fuse the hocks of horses with arthritis. By fusing the lower hock joints, the arthritis process is stopped and injection of the joints with corticosteroids is no longer needed.
The process involves blocking the lower hock joints or having previous corticosteroid injections which resulted in soundness. The joints are then carefully checked to ensure there is no communication from the lower hock joints to the large upper hock joints with a special xray dye. Interpretation of these dye-enhanced xrays is very important in the process. Once this is completed and the horse is identified as a good candidate, a small amount of alcohol is injected into lower hock joint. This injection results in fusion of the joint within 4-12 months. The pain relief is near immediate and horses can return to work within 48 hours of the injection.
Dr. Bell participated in this research as part of the research team at the U of S and has presented the outcomes of this research at the international level. Dr. Bell is an expert in the area and is available to answer any questions about the procedure and possible outcomes. For further information and to find out if your horse may be a candidate, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-832-4465
Example of a contrast study
Pastern Joint Arthrodesis(Fusion)
Recently, the use of alcohol to fuse the pastern joint has also been investigated and shown promise as an alternative to surgery in selected cases. The recovery times tend to be longer than surgical fusion of the pastern joint but there may be a reduction in up front cost to perform the procedure. Dr. Bell is available to discuss all the options in managing these difficult arthritis cases.
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