Barbaro is not doing well and it doesn’t look good. How sad it is that he managed to get this far only to have it come to this:
Prospects for Barbaro poor
'Catastrophic' hoof deterioration dims chance of Derby winner recovering
By Paul McMullen
Originally published July 14, 2006
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. // Horse racing fans were uneasy last night, awaiting an update on the imperiled condition of Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro.After the horse suffered three fractures in his right hind leg during the Preakness, the first 6 1/2 weeks of his recovery at the New Bolton Center were encouraging, but the past eight days brought infections that now have his doctors and owners considering euthanasia.
The worst fears of Dr. Dean Richardson, the chief of surgery for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, were realized when Barbaro developed a "catastrophic" case of laminitis in his left rear hoof.It has nearly destroyed the hoof, which was uninjured in the Preakness but has been bearing the brunt of his weight for nearly two months.
During a 23-minute briefing with the news media yesterday, Richardson was asked the chances for Barbaro's recovery."I don't want to put a percentage on it," Richardson said. "Poor - I'd be lying if I said anything else, but it [recovery] isn't unheard of. As long as the horse is not suffering, we're going to continue to try. It's worth the effort. ... I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It's a long shot."If you asked me two weeks ago, I thought we were going to make it. Today, I am not as confident, which for me is unusual.
"The latest dire development for Barbaro, who underwent a second surgery on his right hind leg Saturday, elicited another outpouring of support.Floral arrangements and baskets of fruit, carrots and peppermints were lined up outside the admissions office of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals, where Barbaro continued to remain in the intensive care unit with casts on both hind legs.More than a dozen television crews attended Richardson's briefing.
Richardson said that under the best-case scenario, it would take an additional six months for the left rear hoof to heal. But he said doctors and owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson were already weighing whether to put the horse down if he experienced severe discomfort.In deciding whether to end an injured horse's life, how is his pain monitored?
"You look in the eye, whether or not they're eating," Richardson said. "It [the decision to euthanize] wouldn't happen minute to minute. It could certainly happen within a day or two. Today, the horse looks very good. The horse has a strong constitution, a great appetite, one of the reasons the Jacksons and Mr. Matz [trainer Michael] and I decided to go a little further."If you look at this horse, you know it would be hard to put him down."
Richardson said the pain was being managed with epidurals and other measures."If they stop working," he said, "we're going to quit on the horse."Richardson said his staff and the Jacksons were aware of the scrutiny they are under.
"It's very difficult for the Jacksons," he said. "It's hard for us. It's hard for them. The Jacksons are going to be second-guessed, if we quit now, if we quit then, if we quit too early, quit too late."It is subjective. There are a lot of people involved in making this decision. Every person involved cares about the well-being of the horse."
Richardson said he was in constant communication with the Jacksons and Matz, who is based at Fair Hill in nearby Cecil County, Md. The Jacksons and Matz could not be reached for comment.
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