[Surgeons reported that Barbaro's six-plus-hour surgery has ended, and the classic winner who was severely injured in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is in the intensive care unit at the New Bolton Center and standing.
Dr. Dean Richardson, who led the surgical team, said the son of Dynaformer was in surgery for about seven hours. He said one reason the procedure took so long was the amount of time to prepare the colt for surgery and the recovery time to allow the anesthesia to wear off.
"It was a long recovery because he was under anesthesia for so long. The surgery was very difficult," said Richardson, noting that the surgery is only the first step toward Barbaro being able to survive his injuries. "The severity of the fracture was very severe. The long pastern bone was in 20-plus pieces. It was not a simple fracture. The skin did not break. He is very very badly bruised. We were able to put the appropriate implants in the leg."
Richardson also said a procedure to fusion the fetlock joint – the ankle – was successful.
"He got up from anesthesia without any injuries," Richardson said.
He said horses with injuries such as Barbaro's are susceptible to other problems, including infection and laminitis.
"These are all major concerns we have. At this moment he is very comfortable in his leg. Things right now are good."
Richardson said one of his major concerns, that the blood flow in the areas of the injury had been cut off, was quickly dismissed when the doctors determined "he had good pulse in his feet. When we did the procedure he had good blood supply throughout."]
This is very good news. He's not out of the woods yet, but he's been cooperating and not kicking off splints and what not. Apparently waiting about 24 hours to do the surgery has a lot to do with allowing the horse to realize the race is over. If not, they can come out of anesthesia thinking that they are still running the race.