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Updated on 09/02/2012 12:25AM
Saratoga: Paynter's health improving but condition is still serious
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Haskell winner Paynter was showing signs of improvement Wednesday from his battle with colitis, but he remains in a veterinary clinic near Saratoga Race Course and his connections remain very much concerned about his health.
According to owner Ahmed Zayat, Paynter’s white blood cell count, which was dangerously low on Monday and Tuesday, had doubled by Wednesday morning.
“That’s a very positive sign, his immune system is responding to what they’ve been treating him with,” Zayat said. “We are by no means out of the dangerous zone. But he’s a tough son of a gun that horse; I’m hopeful.”
Zayat said that the sickness Paynter is suffering from now is different than what ailed him following the July 29 Haskell. At that time it was feared he had pneumonia and he had a high red-blood cell count. This time, Paynter is suffering from colitis – an inflammation of the colon – and his white-cell blood count was low.
The latest episode was discovered Sunday night, just hours before Paynter was to have been flown back to trainer Bob Baffert’s bar at Del Mar. He had a temperature that reached 104 degrees and had diarrhea, according to Zayat.
“This is far more serious because if not addressed properly . . . the mortality rate is high,” Zayat said.
Paynter, who had been at Saratoga since Aug. 22, was sent Sunday night to the Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville, N.Y. – about 10 miles from Saratoga.
Dr. Laura Javsicas is overseeing Paynter’s care at the clinic and confirmed on Wednesday that the blood tests indicated improvement.
"He’s being treated very aggressively for colitis," Javsicas said. "Diagnostic tests are pending, we do not know the exact cause [but] we have no reason to believe that it is at all related to his illness in [July]. His attitude has been good, and he definitely is still in critical condition. We had some improvement in his blood work today.”
Zayat said that doctors at that clinic told him the horse’s attitude had improved. He received a text from one of the doctors that Paynter was “out eating fresh grass and more playful.”
Paynter, who won the Haskell by nearly four lengths after getting beat a neck by Union Rags in the Belmont Stakes, was being considered for the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 22 but those plans are obviously scrapped.
Following his release from the New Jersey clinic, Paynter had spent several days in training at Belmont Park. After arriving at Saratoga on Aug. 22, Paynter galloped one day and jogged for a few more over the Oklahoma training track.
10 new tweets from A.Zayat minutes ago re Paynter: all bloodwork normal (white cells 9000) liver and kidney enzymes normal, eating some greens w/ grass and hay, feet fine, diarrhea reduced, temp 103. definitely doing better,but want to see white cells stabilize for 24 hours. scoping lungs at 5:00, update after that. antibiotics being given.
Keeping up with situation through Twitter. Happy to see there is some good news this morning on Paynter. He's doing a little bit better. I will keep praying for him. Paynter has a big challenge to deal with here.
Good news this AM according to Tweets. The visit by the Zayat's must have given him a boost. Perhaps Paynter's favorite groom needs to go hang with him so he knows he is not alone. We all know how sensitive these magnificent creatures can be.
I'm not sure which is more revolting - the rampant agenda-driven speculation over why paynter has become I'll or the dozens of people falling all over himself to show what caring, loving human beings they are (note, this is completely self serving - horses can't read and nobody in their right mind wants to see an innocent colt suffer). Either way this has been a horrrible year for Horseracing. And if and when they euthanize paynter it won't change anything because Horseracing does not a have a central governing body in this country.
Wow, terrible news. I hope he makes it but it sounds bad. Losing 100 pounds in three days is awful.
Check his spleen. The function of the spleen is formation and filtration of blood. The spleen produces lymphocytes, type of white blood cell that is important to immune function. Filtration of blood by the spleen is important in removal of foreign materials including bacteria and particularly old red blood cells... This horse in my opinion was blood doped. What is published here and in,previous articles show that. He has all symptoms of a malfunctioning spleen which is a direct side effect of doping.
Here's the latest tweets from Zayat on Paynter. It's a tough read so, be prepared. Justin Zayat did a series of tweets updating their visit to Paynter. Thurs. Aug. 30th this was dictated byAhmed Zayat my dad as he is driving. We are doing this for his fans So again next 24 hours are critical that this nightmare scenario doesn’t happen. I am very comforted that the best vets and equine Care from all over the country so please #pray Our main concern is that his white blood cells go up so the infection and bacteria that are now in his Colon and intestines don’t travel through his bloodstream and infect other organs. And his body becomes septic. If that happens that is the End of it. So again next 24 hours are critical that this nightmare scenario doesn’t happen. I am very comforted that the best vets and equine Care from all over the country so please #pray As we were petting and kissing him. He started looking at us with his sad eye kind of saying I know you are here for me. Justin tried to feed Him when we first got in an he refused. After 2 hours he rubbed against Justin and was ready to eat. As you would expect his appetite Been horrible. So he started eating fresh grass from benjamins hand. As time went on. He for the first time since Monday he went to his hay Bin and dr. Laura was very happy since it was his first time eating hay since Monday. She had been trying to give him treats he didn’t want. Hope we gave him the love and care and encouragement to do that. With all your good wishes and prayers we will pull through that Positive side. His feet are perfect no discomfort at all. He is in critical condition the next 24 hours are crucial. He needs to fight. He has been an unbelievable patient. Full of class and very easy to work with. He looked sad to me and depressed. I can feel his body temp And how high it is. When I was touching him. His head was low down. Totally heartbreaking. I can see Benjamin totally tearing and trying Have been there. Dr. Laura Javsicas. You can tell that she genuinely cares. She warned us that he lost around 100+ pounds since Monday. We are driving back from Saratoga. Tough day. Very sad. We are very emotional. Our only console and comfort pic.twitter.com/c0r8LYyH First tweet We are still with paynter in his stall. It will be a 3 hour drive back home. Will update on the drive back
Zayats were with Paynter and have tweeted extensively. Situation very dire, next 24 hours critical. Feet ok, but high fever and diarrhea remain. lost 100 lbs. finally eating a little hay. need a miracle, it would appear.
For all you people out there screaming this is the result of drugs (other than antibiotics), let me set you straight. The normal balance of bacteria in a horse's hindgut can be disrupted for many reasons and result in diarrhea/colitis. Case in point: Several years ago my 26 yr. old lawn ornament became colicky out in the pasture so I called the vet. After initial treatment did not help he went to the clinic. Several hours after he arrived he developed severe diarrhea/colitis. The cause was never found even though cultures were done. He had been in the same pasture for years, had received no medications, and still got sick. He recovered in a few days and he is still out in the pasture. What I'm trying to say is blaming illegal drugs for Paynter's colitis is jumping to ill-conclusions and speculation at best.
Would DRF be in a position to pass on our concerns, as blogs herein, to any official(s) or federal, to ensure there was no wrongdoing ? We are not making any accusations nor slandering anyone, just that, something does not smell right. I truly, truly, hope it was just the sour grain.
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