Thursday, July 13, 2006

Barbaro Health Updated - Fighting For Life

Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, is fighting for is life right now in Maryland. This famous race horse is trying to beat the odds, once again, after additional surgeries on his broken leg and hoof. Barbaro is now running a low-grade fever and has worn a sore on his healthy rear hoof, most likely because he is trying to balance his twelve hundred-pound body on three legs. His veterinarian team still holds out some hope that Barbaro will not die from these injuries, but it seems like everyday that goes by some new and unexpected complication comes along.

I just love the attitude of this proud race horse and I enjoyed watching him run the Kentucky Derby a few months ago when he made all the other horses look slow. Things always look different with hindsight because before the running of the Preakness Stakes, I noticed Barbaro biting the neck of another horse that was leading he and his jockey to the starting gates. While I thought at the time it was just an attitude thing between two horses, I wonder now if Barbaro wasn’t in some kind of pain and he was trying to let his trainer or jockey know about it? Then he bolted from his shoot even before the gate open, which now seems like a bad vision of things to come, as well.

I have watched the replay of the Preakness Stakes several times now and it looks like that Barbaro somehow got his back leg twisted around and then he slammed his twelve hundred pound weight into his rear hoof at full gallop. When I think about it now, this could happen to a human being and that person might suffer similar injuries. I wonder if there wasn’t already something wrong with Barbaro’s bones before he took that bad step at the beginning of the race? I guess we will never really know the answer to that question because unlike “Mr. Ed”, horses can’t really talk and let us know things like when they are suffering from pain.

I hope it is not too late for Barbaro because it would be a terrible tragedy for his owners to be forced to put this great horse down after he has put up such a fight to survive since suffering these injuries. While most folks probably have moved on and don’t think about Barbaro much anymore, there are a few of us out here that still love this great horse and we are hoping he will pull off another miracle and somehow manage to survive these potential fatal complications from a broken leg and hoof. While reading updates about Barbaro’s condition the past month, I have learned a great deal about what kind of treatment veterinarians use to bring these large animals back from the brink of death.

All of Barbaro’s doctors should be thanked for their tireless efforts to do something, which doesn’t work 99% of the time, and still approach their treatment with a positive mental attitude. While I think these veterinarians are doing a bang up job, the real thanks for Barbaro having this chance at life goes to the unselfish actions of his owner in not making the snap decision to “put him down” on the Preakness Stakes race track when he suffered this terrible injuries. I hope for better days and a bright future for Barbaro.

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