02/20/2013 5:48PM

Rachel Alexandra's veterinarians pleased by progress in week following surgery

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Courtesy Stonestreet Farm via Twitter
Rachel Alexandra, who is continuing to recover from surgery for foaling complications, takes a walk outside at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on Feb. 18, with attending veterinarians Dr. Brett Woodie and Dr. Bonnie Barr.

One week following surgery for foaling complications, 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra remained stable at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., with owner Stonestreet Farm noting that attending veterinarians continue to be encouraged by her progress.

As she continues to recover at Rood and Riddle, Rachel Alexandra has begun leaving her stall for several short walks each day. The 7-year-old Medaglia d'Oro mare began receiving small amounts of solid feed—in addition to intravenous fluids and nutrition—on her third full day following the Feb. 13 surgery, and has displayed an improved appetite this week.

"As her diet becomes more normal, [attending veterinarian Dr. Brett Woodie] is encouraged that her gastro-intestinal function is improving, as well as her ‘feisty’ attitude," Stonestreet said in a release Wednesday.

Rachel Alexandra's post-operative care had included a series of abdominal lavages, where the abdominal cavity was rinsed with fluids to flush out bacteria and inflammatory cells. That course of treatment was completed on Tuesday, with the drains placed in the mare's abdomen for the procedures removed.

No long-term prognosis has yet been discussed by veterinarians for the mare, whose post-operative care has also included intravenous antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and medications to aid in the prevention of scar tissue in the abdominal cavity.

"While the road towards recovery remains long with many hurdles to overcome, Stonestreet’s Barbara Banke and Rachel’s team at Rood and Riddle are both inspired by her strength and happy with her progress in the week following surgery," Stonestreet said.

Rachel Alexandra began showing signs of distress on the afternoon of Feb. 13 after delivering a Bernardini filly, her second foal, early on Feb. 12 at Stonestreet in Lexington. Exploratory abdominal surgery revealed a damaged area in the mare's small colon, injured during foaling, which led to a bacterial infection. Surgeons removed the damaged section of the small colon and successfully reattached the two remaining ends.