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The aim of this study was to develop a specific myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity assay in the synovial fluid of horses and investigate whether MPO activity is increased in different forms of joint diseases. Synovial fluid samples were taken from affected joints from horses with osteoarthritis, chronic non-septic arthritis and septic arthritis, and from healthy control horses. MPO activity was measured using a specific modified o-dianisidine-assay containing 4-aminobenzoic acid hydrazide as a potent and specific inhibitor of the MPO. This assay is characterized by high reproducibility. The results reveal only a slight elevation of MPO activity in the synovial fluid of horses with osteoarthritis and chronic non-septic arthritis. However, in the cases of septic arthritis a significant increase in MPO activity was found when compared to the controls. In conclusion the first field study suggests that synovial fluid MPO may be used as a marker for septic arthritis in horses.