Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Barbaro ( the horse that fractured his leg 7 months ago) has been in the news lately. For those that have not followed this case, he fractured his lower limb (pastern bone) in the Preakness and after surgical repair developed laminitis ( Founder) in his left hind foot. Probably the result of bearing to much weight on one foot and the stresses and physiologic changes taking place with such an injury. It's good to remember that if that were you or I, we would be confined to a hospital bed for awhile and probably not as good a patient.
The horse on the other hand(hoof) has to stand shortly after surgery because they don't do well physiologically lying down for extended periods of time. This week Barbaro underwent a casting procedure on the laminitic hoof. This was done to help re-align his rotated coffin bone into a more normal angle. The next day he became more painful and additional separation was noted and more debridement was done. This is a setback to say the least. More than likely the pressure of changing the angle (however slight) was to much for the already weakened laminae to hold and the hoof wall was pulled away. I am frequently asked "why go through this much effort" and "shouldn't they just put him down". My answer is this.....If we are capable of being successful in this case , them we will continue to explore what we can do and the things that are seemingly impossible today become routine tomorrow and available for all horse owners.
While I still hold out hope for Barbaro, my realistic side says there is a long, long way to go. If he does survive my question has been this" will he be able to stand on 2 damaged rear limbs to breed mares ?" If it hurts to do so then it's unlikely he will be able to perform, if it is relatively pain free....then that's not a bad retirement.