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Barbaro has another setback

Barbaro has another setback

These have been bad days for Barbaro.
The Kentucky Derby winner suffered another significant setback over the weekend, and his fight for survival may have reached a critical point.
After Barbaro developed a deep abscess in his right hind foot, surgery was performed Saturday to insert two steel pins in a bone, one that had been shattered but is now healthy. The pins were attached to a brace that takes all the weight of the ailing foot.
The procedure is risky because it transfers more weight to the bone.
If it were to break again, chief surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson said: "I think we'll quit.
"When things start to go bad, it's like a house of cards," he said Sunday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "If one thing fails, that puts more stress on another part. And if that fails, then you're stuck with managing two problems. That's why these are difficult cases."
The right rear leg was on the mend until recently. It's the one Barbaro shattered at the start of the Preakness Stakes eight months ago, and the three broken bones had completely healed.
The pins in the right rear leg are connected to an external brace, which is connected to a lightweight alloy foot plate. This results "in the horse eliminating all weight bearing from the foot," Richardson said Sunday in a statement. "The horse's weight is borne through the pins across his cannon bone."
This addresses one problem but could create others.
Barbaro likely will have to bear more weight on his front feet because of his two ailing back legs, making him more susceptible to laminitis, a painful and often fatal disease caused by uneven weight distribution. Laminitis already struck Barbaro's left rear foot in July, and 80 percent of the hoof was removed.
"It's something that we are watching closely, and that could also be a thing that could lead to us quitting," Richardson said.
The colt was doing well Sunday, according to Richardson, and "we will continue to treat Barbaro aggressively as long as he remains bright, alert and eating," he said in an update sent out by the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.
Based on Richardson's advice, owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson have been making the decisions concerning Barbaro. Their major concern from the start has been to keep Barbaro comfortable.
"No one is interested in putting the horse through any type of misery," Richardson said. "We're going to treat him the best way we can as long as he stays comfortable. And we're going to stick with that no matter if his chances are 1 percent or 90 percent.
"If he gets to the point where we just don't think it's reasonable to go on, we will not go on."
Gretchen Jackson spent time with Barbaro on Sunday, and said her colt is "still bright-eyed and still eating.
"It's not over till it's over," she said. "I'd say he's comfortable and being treated very well. As long as he's comfortable. ... Dean knows our feelings. We trust him."
Sunday, Richardson sounded as serious as he did on May 21, the day after the Preakness, when he delivered the news that Barbaro's chance of survival was a "coin toss."
"I'm upset, worried, not sleeping well," he said. "A lot of people are very, very committed and spent a huge amount of emotional resources on this horse. So it's very upsetting when things go badly."


Updated : 2021-05-14 20:02 GMT+08:00