ARTHROCENTESIS is the aspiration of synovial fluid from a joint space for diagnostic evaluation. The technique is simple to perform for most peripheral appendicular joints in small animals and is associated with minimal morbidity. When combined with other diagnostic procedures, such as radiography, evaluation of a synovial fluid sample can assist in the diagnosis of joint disease, and an animal's response to treatment. This article discusses the indications for arthrocentesis, outlines how the technique may be performed on the joints most commonly aspirated, and describes how to evaluate synovial fluid samples.
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