Validation of a cranial injection technique of the medial femorotibial joint in the horse

S. S. Down, G. A. Munroe, R. C. Murray
Equine Veterinary Education
November 2011

A cranial technique for entry of the medial femorotibial (MFT) joint in the horse was validated. It was hypothesised that the frequency of correct placement into the MFT joint using the described cranial technique would be similar to using a standard medial approach. Twenty-four limbs from 15 horses were injected with a latex mixture. Limbs with stifle joint effusion and/or known stifle pathology were grouped separately to those without. When effusion/pathology was not present the medial technique (93%) was almost twice as successful as the cranial technique (53%), including when extremes of size were removed from the population. With the presence of femoropatellar or medial femorotibial effusion, the cranial technique (20%) was 5 times less successful than using the medial technique (100%). When extremes of size were removed from the population of horses with effusion, the success of the cranial technique was marginally improved (33%). When an ‘average size’ of horse is used with or without joint effusion, the cranial technique is successful in entering the MFT joint in approximately 50% of cases, and may hence be of use in a fractious animal without sedation, a stallion, or in the presence of a wound/skin infection at the site of the medial needle entrance.