Intra-articular treatment with triamcinolone compared with triamcinolone with hyaluronate: A randomised open-label multicentre clinical trial in 80 lame horses

Equine Vet J. 2016 Mar;48(2):152-8. doi: 10.1111/evj.12383. Epub 2015 Feb 2.


Reasons for performing study: Intra-articular (IA) injection of corticosteroids with or without hyaluronate (HA) has been used for decades in equine practice for treatment of noninfectious synovitis and osteoarthritis. However, to date, no large-scale randomised equine field trials have been reported that address the supposed superior clinical efficacy of the combination of corticosteroid + HA compared with IA injection of corticosteroid alone.

Objectives: To compare the clinical efficacy of IA triamcinolone acetonide (TA, 12 mg) compared with IA TA (12 mg) + high molecular weight HA (20 mg) in horses with clinical joint disease.

Study design: Prospective, randomised, parallel, open label, multicentre clinical trial.

Methods: Eighty client-owned horses from 13 clinics were included. Lameness and effusion scores were assessed at baseline and 3 weeks after IA treatment. A standardised telephone questionnaire was completed between the owner and consulting veterinarian at 3 months. The primary outcome parameter was clinical success rate, defined as ≥2 grades lameness reduction (on a 0-5 scale) at 3 weeks. Chi-square statistics and binary logistic regression were used to analyse data on an intention-to-treat basis for the 3 week outcome.

Results: The success rate of IA TA 3 weeks after treatment was 87.8%, while that of TA+HA was 64.1% (P = 0.01). Age >13 years was associated with a reduced success rate for the combination treatment (P = 0.004) at 3 weeks. At 3 months, half the horses in each group had returned to their previous level of performance.

Conclusions: The combination of TA with HA was associated with a lower short-term clinical success rate and a similar medium-term outcome compared with IA TA, with only half of the horses performing at their previous level of exercise after 3 months regardless of treatment group allocation.

Keywords: arthritis; corticosteroid; horse; hyaluronan; joint; randomised.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Horses
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Hyaluronic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Joint Diseases / drug therapy
  • Joint Diseases / veterinary*
  • Lameness, Animal / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / administration & dosage
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / therapeutic use*


  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide