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Barbaro doing well, injury inspected

July 20, 2006

Barbaro and Dr Dean Richardson.

Photos: Sabina Louise Pierce/University of Pennsylvania

Chief of Surgery Dean Richardson reports that Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro remains in stable condition with good vital signs.

"Barbaro spends several hours a day in a sling, which he has adapted to very well," said Dr. Richardson.

Barbaro's cast was changed on Monday in order for radiographs to be taken and for vets to examine the incision.

"The radiographs looked good; the plates we placed on July 8 to fuse the pastern are intact and the fetlock fusion is unchanged. The leg and the incision looked as good as we could have hoped," Dr. Richardson said.

The right hind leg cast supports the repair of the injury suffered at the Preakness on May 20, and it extends from the colt's foot to just below his hock.

The modified foot cast, which acts like a bandage on Barbaro's left hind foot, was also changed. The foot cast is rigid and provides stability and support, but will be changed often so that the hoof can be treated. Both cast changes were performed with Barbaro lightly sedated in a sling.

He has adapted very well to being managed as needed in the sling. "He is a very intelligent horse," said Dr. Richardson.

Slings, which were originally designed for rescuing horses, are now common in the treatment of horses with conditions that include neurological problems or muscular skeletal injuries. They have been in use for many years for long-term management of a horse's movement.

"We have a lot of experience in using slings for equine support," said Dr. Richardson.

"In Barbaro's case, it is a part-time aid that we use to increase his comfort level."



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