10/04/2012 10:08AM

Paynter recovering after surgery to remove intestinal abscess

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Barbara D. Livingston
Paynter is eating well and is "very hungry," owner Ahmed Zayat said in a tweet.

Paynter, the Haskell winner who has been fighting colitis and laminitis during the last month, is eating well and “very hungry” 24 hours after undergoing surgery at the New Bolton Center to remove an abscess in his cecum, a pouch at the beginning of the large intestine. That update came via Ahmed Zayat’s Thursday morning tweets.

Zayat tweeted that “our champ is doing awesome today,” adding that the 3-year-old Awesome Again colt had passed several piles of manure, appeared comfortable, and was showing a normal temperature. Veterinarians believe the abscess, which Zayat told the The Blood-Horse was 15 inches long and full of bacteria and pus, was causing Paynter to develop periodic fevers over the last couple of months.

Paynter 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 then believed to be pneumonia. He developed diarrhea but then improved and returned to light training with trainer Bob Baffert two weeks later. He shipped to the Upstate Equine Medical Clinic in Schuylerville, N.Y., on Aug. 26 with a fever and diarrhea. He later showed early signs of laminitis in three legs, but he recovered from that with aggressive treatment.

Paynter relocated to the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania on Monday for the surgery, which took place the same day that the colt’s Haskell trophy arrived at the Zayat Stables office in New Jersey, according to Zayat’s son Justin, who also is Zayat’s racing and bloodstock manager. Throughout the ordeal, the Zayats have provided regular updates via Twitter, and many racing fans have followed the story closely through the Zayats’s 140-character bursts of news, often responding to the news with the hashtag #PowerUpPaynter. Some fans also have launched a campaign to nominate Paynter for the Vox Populi Award, created by Secretariat’s owner-breeder Penny Chenery to honor horses beloved by the public but not honored through traditional awards such as the Eclipse Award.

anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad this horse is making it. The operation was done with great speed, and seeming assurance and competency, unlike the previous treatments which were catapulted into the realm of soap opera in the reports of the annoying owner Zayat. All the humans involved owed it to this horse to make him better, because the whole thing smacks of human mistakes in feeding, training, treatment by the crying vet, hysterical appeals by the owner, and so on. Maybe Paynter will get free of these yahoos. Run, Paynter, run! I still think his name makes him, it's as good as Lassie or Fury.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I agree Paynter deserves an award for his courage and willingness to fight. To examine this continual claim about his original symptoms being thought to be pneumonia.. Those were 3rd article quotes after missing Travers and being diagnosed by Doc Cheney with colitis. After ge was sent to Schulerville clinic. First two quotes stated high red blood cell counts and dehydration. He was quoted as being "fine and getting his nails done in the first clinic in jersey" and being pointed towards Travers or Penn Derby. So why all the varying stories? As well as sour grain after winning Haskell. Sour grain fermenting in his cecum could cause the colitis. But that shows fault in handling. Who feeds a grade one horse or any horse sour grain. Or grain too soon after a race so they themself can call it a day? Then there is the idea of alleged blood doping causing the spleen to malfunction and overload the blood with bacteria. Both theories are plausible. But if Paynter had pneumonia why train him so early after he left jersey clinic. WHY?
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Glad he's healthy. it's painfully obvious that Baffert almost killed him,working him out so soon after having the "Baffert fever".
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
He 'wudden even in town.'
Barbara Krock More than 1 year ago
Great news! Way to go, Paynter!
Steve Finneran More than 1 year ago
get well paynter!!!
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Paynter, keep defying the odds. We love it!
Babette Cade More than 1 year ago
Yay! When I read yesterday of the surgical success, it stood to reason that he would wake up feeling up like a champ today. So glad to hear this.
Lisa More than 1 year ago
This is such GREAT NEWS what a game colt.!!!!
Teri Blaser More than 1 year ago
So glad he is doing better!
Pale Rider More than 1 year ago
Wow, that would make a horse sick. Let's see if that will solve his illness?