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[RC] Barbaro Update - Alissa Cowan

A more light-hearted story about Barbaro.


By Dan Gelston, AP Sports Writer | July 17, 2006
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. --Barbaro has a little spring in his sling. The Kentucky Derby winner squirms in his own safety device, like a child trying to break free from a jumper, and he even sits on his damaged hind legs, the way dogs do when they beg for treats.

Those are encouraging signs for sure for the ailing 3-year-old colt. But the odds of Barbaro's full recovery from a severe case of laminitis and a reconstructed right hind leg are really no better than they were a week ago.
"It is important for people to understand this is not a 'routine' laminitis," Dr. Dean Richardson said Monday in a statement. "The care involved in treating a hoof with this degree of compromise is complex."
Barbaro's condition was stable Monday, his vital signs, appetite ("usual voracious style") and heart rate were normal after another comfortable night.
"We will continue to manage his pain successfully, and he is alert," Richardson said.
He said the fiberglass cast on the horse's left foot will be changed so the hoof can be treated and watched for signs of infection. Because of laminitis, a painful and often-fatal condition, 80 percent of the hoof wall was removed last week.
The cast on the colt's right hind leg -- shattered shortly after the start of the Preakness Stakes on May 20 -- has been changed at least four times in the last two weeks.
Through it all, Barbaro has acted downright frisky and seemed to finally figure out how to handle his confinement in intensive care at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals.
"He has learned how to adapt his posture to the sling so he can benefit from the most comfort," said Dr. Kathleen Anderson, Barbaro's attending vet when the horse was racing and stabled in trainer Michael Matz's barn at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
"He's learning how to almost dog sit, which is good because it takes the weight off the front legs, which is, of course, our next great concern," she told The Associated Press.
Anderson left a mid-afternoon visit feeling good about the way the colt looked, though she noted that the prognosis for his recovery was still not encouraging.
"The reality is, you have to say poor at this point in time," she said. "It doesn't mean it's hopeless and I think that's the big difference."
Nearly everyone who has visited Barbaro during the past week has said the same things about his appearance: He looks bright-eyed and alert.
Anderson smiled when she described Barbaro's activity in his sling, which has been fitted to prevent sudden movements and allows him to shift his weight from side to side. The main goal is comfort.
"He was using it similar to a jolly jumper," she said. "He was almost doing like children do when they're bored, they do the jolly jumper where they kind of boing around the stall. He was boinging, boinging around the stall a little bit."
Those seemingly never-ending deliveries of apples, carrots and peppermints from fans don't seem to be going to waste, given the reports of his hearty appetite. Kennett Florist makes several deliveries a day to the hospital, its vans overflowing with roses and gourmet baskets sent from well-wishers.
"It's been very good for business, but it's been very time consuming," store owner Alie Berstler said. "These people are very, very upset."
Berstler said one fan ordered four dozen roses at a time, and estimates she has probably delivered more than 400 roses, 300 apples and 150 pounds of carrots since late last week.


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