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Surgeon says Barbaro making good progress

June 1, 2006

Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado.
Photo: Sabina Louise Pierce/University of Pennsylvania
Surgeon Dean Richardson said yesterday that Barbaro has had "an incredibly good week.

"He's actually done far better than I would have ever hoped, so far. He's done very, very well, so far. So he is perfectly comfortable in his limb, all his vital signs are normal, his blood work is good. Basically, he could not at this moment look any better in terms of his medical condition."

He said the decision to change Barbaro's cast is one that he will assess day-by-day. "Right now this horse is walking so well on his limb, he willingly rests his left hind, he walks around the stall, he's very active. So, my inclination at this point is to just literally go day-by-day, there's no absolutely compelling reason to remove the cast.

"If he continues to look as good as he does, he can wear this cast for several more weeks if he continues to wear it this well. It is been a surprisingly good fitting cast considering that I thought there would be a little bit of loosening of it or swelling above the cast; neither one has occurred."

Jockey Edgar Prado said that the horse was able to be pulled up so quickly because "he's such a smart horse to know he was in trouble. He didn't put in any resistance. He wasn't fighting me. I just tried to keep my balance and pull him up."

When asked about his decision to attempt to save Barbaro when such a surgery had rarely been tried before, he said he thought barbaro's leg was one he could repair. "I thought I could fix it and I thought it was reasonable to give the horse a chance."

He said Barbaro's odds were now "officially 51 percent."

Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado. Dr Dean Richardson looks on.
"In terms of some of the complications, some of them are more likely to rear their head in the earlier stages of the convalescence, for example, serious infection tends to be more of a problem the first 10-14 days. Catastrophic infections tend to be evident within that time frame but not always. Whereas laminitis is a complication or failure of the fixation, both of those can occur at a later date. He's still a long, long way from being discharged from the hospital."

Richardson said that Barbaro was coping well with his confinement and showed no signs of depression. "He is very active in the stall. When a horse walks by the outside window he is trying, you know, peeking out there trying to see who it is. I think he's fairly bright and happy."

Dr Richardson said it would be two to three months before he would know if Barbaro's leg had healed. "To be perfect he's got to fuse his fetlock joint and his pastern joint and we have to make sure that we have to make sure that he has no major problems with like infection, drainage from the site and foundering on the other side. So yes, all these things are still - those could still go wrong even in two or three months out."



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