Firing usually causes prompt recovery from lameness and is a dependable manner of treating such cases but there remains more blemish following cauterization than where vesication is done.
This condition, because of the frequency with which it occurs may be taken as typal, from the standpoint of treatment and results obtained therefrom. While it serves to constitute a basis from which other joints, when open, are to be considered, due allowance must be made for the fact that, as has been previously mentioned, some articulations when open constitute cause for grave consequences; while with others an open capsule, even when infected, does not cause disturbance enough to be classed as difficult to handle. Moreover, the fetlock joint is admirably suited, anatomically, to bandaging; and when wounded, is easily kept protected by means of surgical dressings. This fact is of great importance in influencing the course and termination in any given case of open fetlock joint and should not be forgotten.
There is no logical reason for comparing the pedal joint with the pastern on the basis that it may also be completely and securely bandaged. Open navicular joint does not occur, as a rule, except by way of the solar surface of the foot, and the introduction of active and virulent contagium is certain to happen; consequently, an acute synovitis quickly resulting in an intensely septic and progressively destructive arthritis soon follows in perforation of the capsule of the distal interphalangeal articulation.
Etiology and Occurrence.—Wounds of the fetlock region resulting in perforation or destruction of a part of the capsular ligament are caused by all sorts of accidents, such as wire cuts, incised wounds occasioned by plowshares, disc harrows, stalk cutters and other farming implements. In runaways the joint capsule is sometimes punctured by sharp pieces of wood or other objects. In horses driven on unpaved country roads the fetlock is occasionally wounded by being struck against the sharp end of some object, the other end of which is firmly embedded in the ground. In one instance the author treated a case wherein the fetlock joint was perforated by the sickle-guard of a self-binder. In this case there occurred complete perforation causing two openings through the cul-de-sac of the joint. Such wounds are produced by implements which are, to say the least, non-sterile, and this perforation of the uncleansed skin conveys infectious material into the joint capsule. Yet in many instances, especially in country practice, no infectious arthritis results where cases are promptly cared for.