Here is a diagram of a stifle joint:
She is now at the Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery Clinic in Weatherford, Tx.
They have tools that my vet doesn’t have.
One of them is an arthroscope- which allows them to open up the joint, use the scope to look around, and they can then flush the fluid through the joint to rid the joint of the infection. My vet was simply using a large gauge needle to flush the joint and the needles were getting clogged with “fibrin” which is the bacteria in the joint. For lack of a better description it is basically like snot floating around in the joint. By using the arthroscope they are able to make an incision on both sides of her joint, in this case, the stifle joint and because they’re making a small hole, they were able, yesterday to flush all the fibrin out of the joint. Which in turn should have flushed all the bacteria out. They ran 4 liters of Saline Solution through the joint, and then the flushed it with a 5% DMSO/Saline Solution. They then left Amikacin (a potent antibiotic) in the joint. My vet had been leaving Amikacin in the joint as well, but this brings me to tool #2.
This clinic also has a Hyperbaric Chamber.
HBOT- Hypberbaric Oxygen Therapy is used to increase oxygen to affected cells. They’ve had great success using it on colic recovery patients as well as horses that have laminitis (I realize that to non-horse people, I’m speaking over your heads- keep reading- it gets simpler). From the Equineox Technologies website:
Infections: HBOT increases blood flow to the infection site, which increases the amount of antibiotic delivery. The extra oxygen also increases the effectiveness of the antibiotic, magnifying the way it works against bacteria. High-dose oxygen tends to potentiate the effect of some antibiotics, such as sulfamethoxazole (SMZ). You are also getting 15 times the amount of oxygen to a tissue that was lacking oxygen due to infection of poor circulation. Oxygen also stimulates faster cell turnover and thus faster healing.
Oxygen acts to kill bacteria. Most bacteria causing serious infection are anaerobic—working best in an environment without oxygen. At pressure, with oxygen at a higher level, it is also detrimental to aerobic bacteria. Extra oxygen also helps white blood cells function better to kill the organisms.
Certain antibiotics such as gentocin and amikacin don’t work well in low-oxygen environments. Oxygen therapy enhances their function and gives a whole combination of benefits. HBOT is an adjunctive therapy; you still use antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs and other treatments. It’s a component process in which everything is working together.