Barbaro has right cast change

Horse racing

August 29, 2006|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro wasn't expected to have another cast change on his rear right leg for several weeks, but Dr. Dean Richardson noticed a small crack in the cast Sunday and decided to change it sooner than expected.

The change allowed Richardson, chief of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, to take new radiographs of the broken leg, and the surgeon was pleased with what those X-rays showed.

"Based on new radiographs that were taken, the leg looked excellent under the cast," he said. "The pastern joint looks completely fused, and there is only a small area in the long pastern bone that has a little farther to go before we take him out of the cast completely."

Richardson said last week that Barbaro would already be out of the cast if he did not need the extra support provided by the cast to protect his left foot, which is recovering from laminitis, a painful inflammation that cost the horse his left foot's hoof wall. His survival depends on his ability to regrow enough hoof to stand on.

The radiographs also showed there is no sign of infection in the right leg, which was broken in the Preakness on May 20.

Barbaro again needed general anesthesia for the cast change and came through the ensuing pool recovery without incident and returned to his stall.

Richardson said Barbaro continues to appear comfortable with his left hind foot, which is examined daily when the bandage protecting it is changed.

Yesterday, Richardson evaluated Barbaro and said he is "bright and happy this morning with an excellent appetite."

Barbaro remains in the intensive care unit of the George D. Widener Hospital in Kennett Square. The next update on his condition is expected early next week, as long as there is no significant change in his condition.

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