Barbaro shows no sign of infection in either of his hind legs, and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner has more healthy tissue on his diseased left hind hoof than he did in July when he was first stricken with laminitis.
"We do not believe that this setback puts him all the way back to where he was in July," chief surgeon Dean Richardson said Friday, Jan. 12, in an update issued by the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.
Richardson said that it was "very disappointing" to suffer a setback so close to when Barbaro was set to leave the hospital, but the colt now looks bright and has a strong appetite, and was comfortable.
Barbaro is spending hours in his protective sling, needed to deter sudden movement and make the colt comfortable as he fights back from his latest setback from laminitis. He spent part of the summer in his sling in his ICU stall at New Bolton.
Barbaro has been rehabilitating at the center since shattering three bones in his right hind leg just a few strides into the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 20.
Barbaro had become uncomfortable on his left hind foot in recent days a week after a new cast was put on the foot. The cast was removed after some new separation on the inside portion of his hoof was found.
"In my opinion, nobody knows why this happened," said Gretchen Jackson, who co-owns the Dynaformer colt with her husband, Roy. "He was doing good in the cast. It was the best I've seen him walk in the time he was there."
After his injury in the Preakness, Barbaro developed severe laminitis, caused by uneven weight distribution in the limbs. The result was that 80 percent of his left hind hoof was removed in mid July.
The disease, called laminitis or founder, involves inflammation and structural damage to tissue that bonds the horse's bone to the inner wall of the hoof.