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Red Heeler
07-16-2006, 09:41 AM
Barbaro’s Chances for Recovery Called 'Poor’
By JOE DRAPE and MARIA NEWMAN
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa, July 13 — Doctors treating Barbaro, the injured Kentucky Derby winner, said today that an acute infection in what had been the horse’s good hind leg has worsened, to the point that “his chances for recovery are poor.”

Barbaro underwent surgery on Wednesday on his left leg to try to treat the laminitis that had formed in the last few days, said Dr. Dean Richardson, the chief of surgery at the George D. Widener Hospital here. Because of the severity of the painful infection, which tends to form by excessive weight bearing on one limb, doctors performed a hoof wall resection that removed about 80 percent of Barbaro’s left rear hoof.

Today, the doctors sounded less optimistic about his recovery than they ever have since May 21, when Barbaro underwent surgery to repair the right hind leg he shattered in the opening yards of the Preakness Stakes.

“His prognosis for his life and his comfort has significantly diminished,” Richardson said at his daily news briefing, when he was asked about the horse’s chances of survival. “I’d be lying if I said anything other than poor.”

Doctors have said it is not uncommon for horses to develop laminitis in the six- to eight-week period after surgery, already a critical time in all recoveries.

“It’s as bad a laminitis as you can get,” Richardson said.

Barbaro is “comfortable” right now, he said, and any decision on how to proceed would be determined by how he is handling any pain he is enduring.

“We’re going to go on until everyone’s confident that we shouldn’t go on,” he said, adding that the final decision has always rested with the horse’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson.

“This is very bad for the Jacksons,” Richardson said. “They’re going to be second-guessed. If we quit now, some will think we quit too early. If we quit later, that we let it go on too late.”

He said that doctors are focusing on managing Barbaro’s pain for the moment. If the medications stop working, “we’re going to quit on the horse .”

“There is no vet out there who went into this to inflict pain on an animal,” he said.

.

It has been a tough eight days for Barbaro, a horse who once seemed to have the Triple Crown in his sights, and is now simply trying to survive.

He has endured four leg-cast changes and a three-hour surgical procedure late Saturday in which a plate and screws from the initial surgery were replaced. The colt did not come out of that surgery as well as he did after the initial lifesaving operation in May, needing 12 hours to shake off the effects of anesthesia and return to his stall in the facility’s intensive-care unit.

Since then, concerns about infections in Barbaro’s repaired right hind leg and the previously healthy left one have added to feelings of unease.

Ever since Barbaro’s horrific breakdown in the Preakness transfixed the nation, and then his startlingly smooth recovery in the ensuing days lifted the spirits of everyone involved with the horse, the Jacksons have remained committed to the expensive goal of returning the colt to a normal, pain-free life, albeit one away from the racetrack.

They also have said they were prepared for the ups and downs that would accompany a convalescence that could take months. Now the downs have clearly replaced the ups.

Richardson, meanwhile, has maintained that Barbaro’s full recovery was an uphill proposition from the start and that the recent complications could not be easily dismissed.

Among his concerns is the infection in the right rear pastern joint, which is above the hoof and was shattered into more than 20 pieces when the initial injury occurred. While most of the fractured bones in the right leg have healed, the joint that connects the long and short pastern bones remains unstable.

“When you have that type of infection the bone becomes porous, like a sponge, and it’s difficult to get the hardware stable enough for the bone to fuse and heal,” said Dr. George Mundy, a veterinarian and general manager of Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky. “You need to get rid of the infection and stabilize the bone. Then you need time. You can almost say they’re back to ground zero.”

But everyone knew there was a possibility that the horse could also develop laminitis.

“It goes hand in hand,” said Dr. Larry Bramlage, an equine surgeon in Kentucky. “With the problems with the right pastern, it increases the load on the opposite leg,” the left one, where Barbaro now has an infection.

“’Laminitis is usually the terminal event for any horse that has had a severe orthopedic surgery,” Bramlage added.

While horses with laminitis can be saved, the prospect of Barbaro having to battle that condition, as well as other infections stemming from the original surgery, could mean extreme discomfort for the colt that would undermine the healing process.

“This is like a terrible catastrophic turn,” Richardson said today. “Two weeks ago I thought we were going to make it.”

DropDocK
07-16-2006, 12:20 PM
He's improved since 3 days ago and they have a better outlook for him now.

NJReds
07-17-2006, 09:42 AM
I think the prisoners in Guantanamo are getting better treatment. It seems to me like this horse is being held hostage for his ability to breed.

When I saw the video of him in the harness, it really irked me. I'm no horseman, but my father owned trotters when I was a kid, so I did spend some time around the track. I thought there was no hope for this horse as soon as he pulled up in the Preakness -- it seems as though that's the case.

LoganBuck
07-17-2006, 01:28 PM
The harness is not only for support but also to allow him to exercise his muscles without bearing any weight. I agree he probably should have been put down, but the stud fees will be worth it if he survives. He was and is a business asset.

NJReds
07-17-2006, 02:22 PM
He was and is a business asset.

Exactly. It's quite sad.

dabvu2498
07-17-2006, 02:53 PM
Exactly. It's quite sad.
And there are roughly 8000 racing greyhounds put down each year because they are no longer viable business assets. And on almost all of their National Greyhound Registry Association cards, it will say "too slow." It has on all 5 of the ones I've adopted. Sad, indeed, but it's what happens when animals become business assets.

Chip R
07-17-2006, 05:16 PM
Now I heard someone over the weekend say he won't be able to perform his studly duties since his back leg won't be able to support his weight when he mounts the mare.

LoganBuck
07-17-2006, 05:28 PM
That is conjecture based upon how he heals, Chip. If he heals well he will be fine, it is to early to tell.

I have never been a fan of animals used for human entertainment, this is where it leads. But the fact is that the more valuable an animal is for breeding stock the more chances it will get to live. If in a years time Barbaro is walking around his paddock happily breeding mares, it will be worth it.

Red Heeler
07-17-2006, 06:04 PM
That is conjecture based upon how he heals, Chip. If he heals well he will be fine, it is to early to tell.

I have never been a fan of animals used for human entertainment, this is where it leads. But the fact is that the more valuable an animal is for breeding stock the more chances it will get to live. If in a years time Barbaro is walking around his paddock happily breeding mares, it will be worth it.

It is a bit of a Catch 22. The more money involved, the greater the pressure to win or keep the animal alive as breeding stock. On the other hand, there is also more money available for research and treatment, too.

Barbaro's owners have said from the beginning that they would not allow him to suffer. As for earlier comments about slinging him, most horses tolerate a sling quite well. The slings are very well designed not to create pressure points. As LoganBuck said, if he is able to survive without long term pain, it will be a great victory for veterinary medicine.

Redsfaithful
07-17-2006, 09:00 PM
It's funny how much people care about this horse. You wouldn't believe how many horses drop dead after racing in the summer heat at River Downs.

Red Heeler
07-17-2006, 10:45 PM
By The New York Times

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa., July 17 — Barbaro had another restful night in the intensive care unit of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals, but his veterinarian said that his situation remained serious.

“It is important for people to understand that this is not routine laminitis,” the veterinarian, Dean Richardson, said in a statement Monday.

Laminitis is the hoof ailment that Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner, came down with last week in his left hind leg. It is probably a result of uneven weight distribution, common for a horse with a fractured leg. The pain involved with laminitis is normally so severe that horses with the condition are often euthanized.

“The care involved in treating a hoof with this degree of compromise is complex,” Richardson said. “We will continue to manage his pain successfully, and he is alert.”

Richardson said that Barbaro, who sustained a fractured right rear leg in the Preakness Stakes on May 20, was in stable condition and was eating well.

Red Heeler
07-17-2006, 10:51 PM
It's funny how much people care about this horse. You wouldn't believe how many horses drop dead after racing in the summer heat at River Downs.

I honestly doubt that there are many at all. These horses are extremely fit. A thoroughbred race, while physically demanding, is also only 2 minutes or so long. There are lots of equine events/work which require a much more sustained effort. The horses that suffer from heat exhaustion are far more likely to be the weekend warrior who gets ridden on a trail ride every couple of weeks without any training in between.

LoganBuck
07-17-2006, 11:37 PM
I honestly doubt that there are many at all. These horses are extremely fit. A thoroughbred race, while physically demanding, is also only 2 minutes or so long. There are lots of equine events/work which require a much more sustained effort. The horses that suffer from heat exhaustion are far more likely to be the weekend warrior who gets ridden on a trail ride every couple of weeks without any training in between.

It isn't just the summer heat. The number of horses that have to be put down at any racetrack throughout the year is disgusting. The ESPN Outside the Lines about Barbaro and race related mortality of these supposed "extremely fit" horses was sickening. They have been bred for extreme speed, and at the expense of larger more sturdy skeletal frames. Look at the pictures of today's winners down at the Churchhill Downs Museum, the horses of today look sickly. Intensive selection for speed, is directly related to this mess. It happens in all animal gene pools, when balance is abandoned for the sake of the extreme.

LoganBuck
07-17-2006, 11:44 PM
It is a bit of a Catch 22. The more money involved, the greater the pressure to win or keep the animal alive as breeding stock. On the other hand, there is also more money available for research and treatment, too.

Barbaro's owners have said from the beginning that they would not allow him to suffer. As for earlier comments about slinging him, most horses tolerate a sling quite well. The slings are very well designed not to create pressure points. As LoganBuck said, if he is able to survive without long term pain, it will be a great victory for veterinary medicine.

Big time props for this statement because, a high profile animal like this brings money to the table, to understand the how and why of fixing a damaged animal like this. People who aren't even involved in the horses ownership are no doubt contributing to this effort.

Look up at the Ohio State University and their world renowned veterinary hospital. The newest parts of the research labs and classrooms, came from grants from the Wexners who are horse fanatics. They have been very gracious for the assitance that the OSU Vet School has provided them. Prior to this grant the schools classrooms and labs were starting to become dated, now they are state of the art.

Red Heeler
07-18-2006, 08:01 AM
It isn't just the summer heat. The number of horses that have to be put down at any racetrack throughout the year is disgusting. The ESPN Outside the Lines about Barbaro and race related mortality of these supposed "extremely fit" horses was sickening. They have been bred for extreme speed, and at the expense of larger more sturdy skeletal frames. Look at the pictures of today's winners down at the Churchhill Downs Museum, the horses of today look sickly. Intensive selection for speed, is directly related to this mess. It happens in all animal gene pools, when balance is abandoned for the sake of the extreme.

You are preaching to the choir. The TB racehorse industry definately has a win-at-all-costs slimeyness to it. I would love to see the kind of pressure that is being put on baseball with regards to steroids being put upon the racing industry to clean up its act. Horseshoes with toe grabs have been shown to contribute to catastrophic breakdowns, yet they are still allowed. Trainers control the medical treatment of many of the horses, relegating the track vets to little more than drug dealers.

Highlifeman21
07-18-2006, 10:12 AM
Kennett Square is in my neck of the woods, and you wouldn't believe all the hype and hoopla this horse has created.

All the local news media does a daily Barbaro report, and all the gifts outside of the facility where he's at is overwhelming.

Calling it a spectacle is an understatement.

Redsfaithful
07-18-2006, 05:03 PM
I honestly doubt that there are many at all. These horses are extremely fit. A thoroughbred race, while physically demanding, is also only 2 minutes or so long. There are lots of equine events/work which require a much more sustained effort. The horses that suffer from heat exhaustion are far more likely to be the weekend warrior who gets ridden on a trail ride every couple of weeks without any training in between.

I'm speaking from personal experience. The horses are fit (kind of, a 5k claimer can be a pretty beat up animal), but they also probably shouldn't be pushed so hard when it's 90+ degrees with high humidity. Horses die all the time at River Downs.

WMR
07-19-2006, 12:33 AM
Count me as one pulling for Barbaro. Imagine him siring a Triple Stakes winner someday.

Chip R
07-19-2006, 02:27 PM
That is conjecture based upon how he heals, Chip. If he heals well he will be fine, it is to early to tell.

I have never been a fan of animals used for human entertainment, this is where it leads. But the fact is that the more valuable an animal is for breeding stock the more chances it will get to live. If in a years time Barbaro is walking around his paddock happily breeding mares, it will be worth it.

Yeah. It could have been Rob Dibble talking about it for all I know. It wasn't like it was a vet or anything.

I hope Barbaro survives too whether it is to make little Barbaros or just to eat oats and live to a ripe old age. However, what has the sports media come to when there are thrice daily Barbaro updates? Are they that hard up for news? I feel the same way about Barry Bonds. Why does ESPN feel the need to put a "Chasing Aaron" thing in their crawl? I could understand if he were at 750 HRs but he's not even to 730 yet.

Dom Heffner
07-23-2006, 12:53 AM
Imagine him siring a Triple Stakes winner someday.

Do you want me to imagine the actual "production" or just the product?