SEPTIC arthritis is an important cause of lameness in calves, especially during the first eight weeks of life. The condition is caused by bacterial infection of the joints and, unless early diagnosis and effective treatment are instituted, severe, self-perpetuating and potentially irreversible damage can occur. It was previously considered dangerous to introduce a needle into a joint either to collect fluid or to administer treatment. However, with care, attention to asepsis and appropriate analgesia, this procedure is now known to be safe and is an important part of the diagnosis and, in some cases, treatment of septic arthritis.
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