Updated on 06/08/2011 9:17AM

Uncle Mo's illness diagnosed

Barbara D. Livingston
Uncle Mo is scheduled to be back at Todd Pletcher's barn by Aug. 1.

Uncle Mo, last year’s 2-year-old champion male, has been found to have cholangiohepatitis, his owner, Mike Repole, announced in a statement Friday.

Cholangiohepatitis is a rare disease affecting the liver and specifically the production, secretion, and distribution of bile, according to a resarch paper published in the April 2004 Equine Veterinary Education journal. Antimicrobial treatment is recommended for six weeks. Symptoms are mild colic, fever, and jaundice. The disease is considered difficult to diagnose because the symptoms tend to be mild.

Repole said that a biopsy of the liver and lymph nodes, in conjunction with testing by equine internists, found the malady. Uncle Mo has been at WinStar Farm in Kentucky for the past three weeks. He was sent there shortly after the May 7 Kentucky Derby, from which he was scratched on the eve of the race.

“The cause of how he contracted cholangiohepatitis is unknown,” the veterinarians Bill Bernard, Doug Byars, and Tom Divers said in a joint statement issued by Repole’s publicist. “Since Uncle Mo has been at WinStar he has gained 67 pounds, his blood work is going in the right direction, his energy level is up, and his attitude has improved. We are optimistic about his prognosis and getting back to the track and continuing his racing career.”

Uncle Mo has not raced since suffering his first loss when third in the Wood Memorial on April 9.
“As long as Uncle Mo is 100 percent healthy, he’ll be sent back to Todd Pletcher’s barn,” Repole said. “My hope is for him to arrive back with Todd before Aug. 1.

“Though the doctors and I are optimistic that he will return to racing, Uncle Mo’s progress and health over the next three months will be the determining factor.