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Companion Animal Practice
Arthrocentesis and synovial fluid analysis in dogs and cats
  1. Dylan Clements

    Dylan Clements graduated from Liverpool in 1997, having gained an intercalated degree at Edinburgh in 1995. He worked at the PDSA in Liverpool for three years before completing a three‐year surgical residency and a year as a registrar, both at Glasgow. He holds the RCVS diploma in small animal surgery (orthopaedics) and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons diploma in surgery. He is currently a BBSRC scholar at Liverpool and Manchester universities, where he is investigating the genetic basis of canine osteoarthritis.


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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