07/25/2006 11:00PM

Barbaro's infection clearing up

Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Barbaro appeared to be faring "as well as can be expected" on Wednesday, according to his surgeon, after having the cast on his laminitic left hind leg changed Tuesday. And an infection in his broken right hind leg appears to be "under control."

In a statement issued Wednesday morning by the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, chief surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson said, "I'm happy with the appearance of this foot, which is doing as well as can be expected."

Richardson previously had said that he would regularly change the cast on Barbaro's left hind foot. About two weeks ago, Barbaro developed laminitis, a painful and potentially fatal hoof disease that can be caused when horses shift too much weight off an injured leg and onto a healthy leg. Richardson removed about 80 percent of the hoof wall then.

Earlier this week, the Baltimore Sun reported that the treatment for Barbaro, a 3-year-old Dynaformer colt, includes nutritional supplements that should help stimulate hoof growth. The regrowth process will take months.

In early July, Barbaro also developed an infection in his right hind leg, the leg he shattered during the May 20 Preakness Stakes. On July 8, in a bid to clear up the infection, Richardson replaced the compression plate and most of the 27 screws he had inserted in the right hind leg after the accident.

"Over the last several days, his temperature has been normal and his blood work has significantly improved, suggesting that the infection in his right hind is under control," Richardson said.

The Wednesday statement also noted that Barbaro's heart rate is consistently normal, "a good indication that he is stable and comfortable."

Barbaro remains in intensive care at the New Bolton Center's George D. Widener Large Animal Hospital.