Update from Dr. Dean W. Richardson on Barbaro’s condition
January 28, 2007
KENNETT SQUARE, PA — On Saturday, January 27, Barbaro was taken back to surgery because we could not keep him comfortable on his right hind foot. That foot developed a deep subsolar abscess secondary to bruising when he went through a period of discomfort on the left hind foot. It is not laminitis but the undermining of the sole and part of the lateral heel region are potentially just as serious. We attempted to manage the right hind foot in a cast and then in a custom fabricated brace but it was impossible to have access to the foot for treatment as well as acceptable stability and comfort. We elected to place his right hind in an external skeletal fixation device in order to provide the foot a chance to heal. This means that two steel pins have been placed transversely through his right hind cannon bone. These pins are connected to external sidebars that in turn are connected to a lightweight alloy foot plate.
This results in the horse eliminating all weight bearing from the foot; the horse's weight is borne through the pins across his cannon bone. There is significant risk in this approach but we believed it was our only option given the worsening of the right hind foot problem. The major risk of the external skeletal fixation device is that the bone bearing the weight can fracture. Unfortunately, we felt we needed to take this risk because this approach offered our only hope of keeping Barbaro acceptably comfortable.
He had a perfect recovery from anesthesia and has been in and out of the sling since then. His left hind foot appears to be stable at this time. We remain concerned about both front feet. Remarkably, his attitude and appetite were excellent overnight.
We will continue to treat Barbaro aggressively as long as he remains bright, alert and eating. This is another significant setback that exemplifies how complex his medical situation remains because both hind limbs have major problems.
Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of Penn’s George D. Widener Hospital at New Bolton Center.
Updates will be provided when new information is available.
For more information on Barbaro, please see www.vet.upenn.edu
The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Background
Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the world’s premier veterinary schools. Founded in 1884, the School was built on the concept of Many Species, One MedicineTM. The birthplace of veterinary specialties, the School serves a distinctly diverse array of animal patients, from pets to horses to farm animals at our two campuses. In Philadelphia, on Penn’s campus, are the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital for companion animals, as well as classrooms, laboratories and the School’s administrative offices. The large-animal facility, New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, Pa., encompasses hospital facilities for the care of horses and food animals as well as diagnostic laboratories serving the agriculture industry. The School has successfully integrated scholarship and scientific discovery with all aspects of veterinary medical education.