Champion U.S. racehorse Barbaro has been euthanized this week following a battle to recover from injuries sustained last May. The Thoroughbred fractured his leg in three places in a race shortly after a stunning victory at the Kentucky Derby, which he won by the biggest margin in 60 years.
Barbaro’s progress following surgery has captured public imagination. Surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center were among the first to make use of a locking compression plate when they repaired Barbaro’s extensive fractures, and intense interest in the New Bolton Center’s specialized rehabilitation tools generated almost $1.2 million in donations for equipment and research. While Barbaro initially made good progress and the fractures healed, he suffered several complications and at the end was in pain from laminitis.
While the loss of Barbaro has been upsetting for his supporters and the veterinary team that tried to save him, the publicity surrounding his treatment and subsequent fundraising may well improve the therapy of other horses suffering racing injuries.
For more information on equine injuries and surgery, take a look at VetMed Resource, a new ‘one stop shop’ for veterinary information. Launched this month, VetMed Resource provides access to the world’s veterinary literature and is a comprehensive reference tool for veterinary practitioners. View at: www.vetmedresource.org