Vets Replace Plate, Screws in Barbaro's Leg

Veterinarians treated Barbaro for infection and replaced the plate and screws in his injured leg on July 8. Now he has developed severe laminitis in his left hind hoof. July 17 Update: He is in stable condition with good vital signs.
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Editor's Note: At a July 13 press conference, Dr. Dean Richardson said that Barbaro has developed severe, acute laminitis in his left hind foot. He has about 20 percent of his left hind hoof wall remaining. On July 16 he was reported to be in stable condition with good vital signs. For more information and the latest updates on Barbaro's condition, visit www.vet.upenn.edu/newsandevents/news/Barbaro.htm.

Kennett Square, Pa., July 10, 2006 -- Late Saturday, July 8, Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery, replaced the plate and many of the screws that had been inserted into 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's injured hind leg on May 21.

"Barbaro had developed some discomfort and a consistently elevated temperature so we believed it was in his best interest to remove the hardware and thoroughly clean the site of the infection," said Dr. Richardson.

While the main fracture is healing well, the pastern joint that doctors are attempting to fuse continues to be the area of concern. This joint was stabilized with new implants and a fresh bone graft.

"The recovery process from anesthesia took longer with this surgery, but Barbaro is now back in his stall in the Intensive Care Unit," said Dr. Richardson. "He is receiving pain medication, antibiotics and other supportive care...He appears more comfortable today and has had a normal temperature, heart rate and overall attitude."

After evaluating Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro this morning, Dr. Richardson replaced the long cast from July 8 on the colt's injured hind leg for a sixth time.

"The long leg cast was replaced with a short leg cast this morning. This was done with Barbaro in a sling and only under mild sedation," said Dr. Richardson. "The long cast was used as extra support during the anesthetic recovery phase [from July 8]. It is much easier for him to move around his stall and get up and down with a short cast. We also found and treated an abscess in his left hind foot that was bothering him."

Barbaro continues to be monitored closely in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. Dr. Richardson emphasized that the complications are potentially serious. Both Barbaro's owners and trainer continue to visit him at least twice daily.