This affection is grave; its course is comparatively brief; the prognosis is usually unfavorable; and omphalophlebitis occasions a form of lameness which at once impresses the practitioner that serious constitutional disturbance exists. Its consideration properly belongs to discussions on practice or obstetrics and diseases of the new born, and it has received careful attention and is discussed at length in these works.
A second form of metastatic arthritis is met with in strangles. Strangles occurs in the young principally and is not a frequent cause of synovitis or arthritis in the adult animal.
Strangles or distemper is, according to most pathologists, due to the Streptococcus equi. Hoare states that in this type of specific arthritis the contagium is probably carried by the blood. He gives it as his opinion that even laminitis has occurred as a result of the streptococcus-equi. This, indeed, would point toward probable extension by the blood as well as by way of lymph vessels.
Septic synovitis and infectious arthritis are always serious affections even in young animals and much depends upon individual resistance and early rational treatment in such cases, if recovery is to follow.
The same general plan of treatment is indicated in this kind of septic synovitis as is employed in all cases of infective synovitis and septic infection in open joints. There is to be considered, however, the fact that the young animal is more agile, a better self-nurse, and in a general way more apt to recover than is the adult, under similar conditions.
Rheumatic arthritis, if one is justified in classifying rheumatic inflammation of joints as a metastatic form of arthritis, is not a common condition, though seen in mature and aged animals. Cases that may be diagnosed with certainty are usually advanced affections wherein dependable history is obtainable and the symptoms are well marked.
Rheumatism may be thought of, with respect to arthritic inflammation caused thereby, as a sort of pyemia. Undoubtedly, exposure to wet and cold weather is an active factor, but probably a predisposing one only. Likewise a member that suffers from chronic inflammation due to recurrent injury or to constant or repeated strain is less able to resist the vicissitudes of climate and work.
Consequently, rheumatic arthritis is to be seen affecting horses that are in service, more often at heavy draft work where they are exposed to severe straining of joints; where stabling is insanitary; and where they are obliged to lie down (if they do not remain standing) upon cold and wet ground or upon hard unbedded floors or paving.
Where such inhumane and cruel treatment is given animals those responsible ought to be impressed with the unfairness to the animal as well as the economic loss occasioned by inflicting such unnecessary and merciless treatment upon their helpless and uncomplaining subjects. The very nature of the veterinarian’s work affords him constant and frequent opportunity to convince those who are responsible for keeping animals in this manner, that it is inhumane and unprofitable.