01/13/2007 12:00AM

Barbaro has more surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro underwent what his surgeon termed "a planned procedure" under general anesthesia on Saturday morning so that his veterinary team could remove additional hoof wall and cut a tendon in his left hind leg as part of the colt's continuing treatment for laminitis in his left hind foot.

Dr. Dean Richardson, chief surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center and Barbaro's attending veterinarian, also put a cast back on the 4-year-old colt's right hind leg in order to provide additional support.

"While his condition was unchanged over the last two days, we were unable to fully assess his left hind foot with him in his stall," Richardson said. "In today's procedure, another area of undermined hoof wall was removed. The left hind deep digital flexor tendon was cut to help decrease the pull on the coffin bone by that tendon. This was previously done in July, but the tendon had healed and was pulling on the coffin bone, contributing to the malalignment of the coffin bone."

The coffin bone is the main bone inside the hoof capsule.

The procedure comes less than a week after Barbaro endured a setback in his lengthy recovery from laminitis in his left hind leg. Laminitis, a painful and potentially fatal inflammation in the hoof, can develop due to excessive weight-bearing when a horse shifts his weight off of an injured leg and onto a healthy one. Barbaro's initial injury occurred on May 20, when he shattered his lower right hind leg early in the running of the Preakness Stakes. He developed severe laminitis in his left hind in mid-July, prompting Richardson to remove an estimated 80 percent of the hoof wall.

On Jan. 10, the New Bolton Center announced that Barbaro had shown signs of acute discomfort on his left hind leg. On examination of his hoof, veterinarians discovered new separation of the hoof wall from the foot and trimmed away the damaged tissue.

Richardson said Saturday that Barbaro once again awoke from anesthesia in the hospital's recovery pool and "continues to receive intensive management for his discomfort on the left hind foot."