10/22/2012 10:37AM

Paynter gaining weight, continues to improve

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Barbara D. Livingston
Paynter has gained 17 pounds in the last week and now weighs 938.

Paynter, Ahmed Zayat’s Haskell winner who is recovering from colitis and early-stage laminitis, appears to be improving, according to tweets from his connections.

Justin Zayat, racing and bloodstock manager for his father’s Zayat Stables, tweeted that Paynter could undergo hyperbaric chamber therapy and might be turned out in a small pen within 10 days at the Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center, where he has been recuperating since Oct. 15.

Zayat reported that the 3-year-old Awesome Again colt has gained 17 pounds in less than a week, bringing his weight to 938 pounds. Zayat also tweeted a text sent by the rehabilitation center’s founder, Bruce Jackson, saying that the colt’s temperature remains in normal range at around 100.6 to 100.8 degrees and “his attitude is just great.”

The tweet says that Louise Southwood, Paynter’s surgeon at New Bolton Center, is pleased with his recovery.

“He gets feistier & feistier every day,” Zayat tweeted. “Squealing, striking the air, playfully kicking out, just acting like a happy horse. Dr. Southwood came to see him yesterday and was very happy. We all had a long discussion about his progress/plan going forward. We are going to slowly switch his feed over during the next week or so. Plan to continue just hand grazing for another 10 days and then add small pen turn out + start handwalking exercise. We also discussed treating him in the hyperbaric chamber and everyone is on board with our plan.”

Paynter underwent surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center on Oct. 3 to remove a 35-centimeter area of abscessed tissue from his cecum, a pouch in the equine large intestine. Paynter was hospitalized on Aug. 26, when Zayat sent him from trainer Bob Baffert’s barn at Saratoga to the Upstate Equine Medical Clinic in Schuylerville, N.Y. The colt had a fever and diarrhea and veterinarians diagnosed his ailment as colitis. He later showed early signs of laminitis in three legs but recovered from that with aggressive treatment.

That was Paynter’s second stay at a clinic. He first showed signs of illness two days after his July 29 Haskell victory, when he shipped to New Jersey’s Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center with what his connections later said they believed was pneumonia. He developed diarrhea there but that improved, and he returned to Baffert two weeks later, only to enter the Upstate Equine Medical Clinic. His attending veterinarian there, Dr. Laura Javsicas, detected the abscess and referred him him to New Bolton for surgery.