Monday, August 11, 2014

No Vacation for Laminitis: Brazilian Champion Bal a Bali Fights Disease in Florida

laminitis has never taken a vacation

Just as the August "supermoon" was getting ready to rise on Sunday night, Fox Hill Farm sent out a chilling tweet. It said simply: "Bal a Bali fighting laminitis".

The Brazilian champion racehorse Bal a Bali was recently purchased by Americans and shipped from South America to Florida on July 31, where he was to undergo quarantine, according to a report in The Blood-Horse.   The colt was scheduled to ship on to California Friday morning, where he would have joined the racing string of trainer Richard Mandella. The colt had won the Brazilian Triple Crown, and earned a Breeders Cup "Win and You're In" place in the gate for the 2014 Breeders Cup Turf.

Fox Hill Farm

Fox Hill Farm's press statement on the colt reads:

"We have a Bal a Bali update that we’d rather not be making. He was scheduled to fly out to Richard Mandella over the weekend, but a small lameness issue cropped up nearing the end of last week. 

"We’ve been proactive at every stage, including sending him to the nearest clinic when he was first noticed lame, but as of yesterday, it was confirmed that we are battling laminitis. 

"We have the vets from Palm Beach Equine as well as Rood & Riddle working on him, and we’ve brought in a mobile cold water pool for him. The news was fairly positive today and we hope that it continues to be positive over the coming days. 

"We’d like to thank Dr. Davis, Dr. Dryden, and everyone else who has been tending to Bal a Bali for all their hard work and dedication to seeing him become well. We hope you’ll send good thoughts to the horse and his team."

At noon on Monday, Fox Hill Farm updated news on the colt on Facebook. The brief statement read:

"We have Bal a Bali in the cold water spa last night and he has been iced in there continuously except to take out for x-rays this am. Spirit and appetite are great. Lameness was moderately increased again this am for the x-rays but he walks well in the Soft Rides. Digital pulses remain moderately elevated. X-rays showed more thickening at the front of the left fore, still no severe change, but worrisome. He is back in the spa now and we are continuing all treatments. Plan to keep him in the spa continuously and reassess radiographs in the am."

("Soft Rides" refer to Soft Ride hoof boots.)

Later in the afternoon, Fox Hill Farms tweeted a request for help in finding a portable hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

While the announcements gives scant details about the nature of this particular horse's problem, it is a potent reminder that laminitis never takes a vacation. We may be reminded of it in the spring and fall because of the prevalence of endocrine-type laminitis in those seasons, but the general horse population is always at risk from severe laminitis related to fevers, colic, drug interactions, support limb complications in injured horses, and many other obvious and subtle causes of the disease.

Fox Hill Farm, owned by Rick Porter, has campaigned well-known American racehorses such as Hard Spun, Rockport Harbor, Round Pond and Eight Belles. Porter owns Bal a Bali with Siena Farm of Paris, Kentucky, whose promising filly Angela Renee finished second this weekend in the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga.

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