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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Barbaro Update: Cast changes and sling-dom

Here's the latest from New Bolton Center: "Monday afternoon we changed his right hind leg cast to take new radiographs and to examine the incision,” said Dr. Richardson. “The radiographs looked good; the plates we placed on July 8 to fuse the pastern are intact and the fetlock fusion is unchanged. The leg and the incision looked as good as we could have hoped.”

The right hind leg cast supports the repair of the injury suffered at the Preakness on May 20, and it extends from the colt’s foot to just below his hock.

The modified foot cast, which acts like a bandage on Barbaro’s left hind foot, was also changed yesterday. The foot cast is rigid and provides stability and support, but will be changed often so that the hoof can be treated. Both cast changes were performed with Barbaro lightly sedated in a sling. He has adapted very well to being managed as needed in the sling. “He is a very intelligent horse,” said Dr. Richardson.

“He spends several hours a day in a sling, which he has adapted to very well,” said Dr. Richardson.

Slings, which were originally designed for rescuing horses, are now common in the treatment of horses with conditions that include neurological problems or musculo-skeletal injuries. They have been in use for many years for long-term management of a horse’s movement. “We have a lot of experience in using slings for equine support,” said Dr. Richardson. “In Barbaro’s case, it is a part-time aid that we use to increase his comfort level.”

News provided by University of Pennsylvania Large Animal Hospital at New Bolton Center. Hoofblog is a news service provided by Hoofcare & Lameness, Journal of Equine Foot Science. Visit for lots more in-depth articles and information about the care/prevention of lameness in horses. Reference books, videos, and dvds are sold at that site. Please subscribe to our award-winning journal at our "summer special" price: 4 issues $59, 8 issues $99. For more information, write to Hoofcare, PO Box 6600, Gloucester MA 01930; tel 978 281 3222; email
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