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Barbaro’s primary veterinarian, Dr. Dean Richardson is among the world’s leading equine orthopedic surgeons and has been at New Bolton Center since 1979 where he is currently Chief of Surgery and the Charles W. Raker Professor of Equine Surgery.
The day following Barbaro’s injury, Dr. Richardson performed a complicated 5-hour surgery installing a titanium plate with 27 screws to provide support to the lower hind leg, which had fractured into over 20 pieces and was likened to a “bag of crushed ice”. The surgery was a success, along with 2 dozen other surgeries that followed, including a radical hoof wall resection, performed after Barbaro had developed a severe case of Laminitis.
Throughout his recovery,Dr. Richardson warned of complications that could ultimately lead to the horses downfall. “Bad things happen quickly. Good things take time”. This turned out to be a portent when a series of events rapidly unraveled Barbaro’s slow, steady progress up to that point. Sadly, as Dr. Richardson’s colleagues noted, the fracture had healed. It almost happened.
A graduate of Dartmouth college with a doctorate in Veterinary medicine from Ohio State, Dr. Richardson is a self-professed “pointy headed academician”. However his dedication and grief over his champion thoroughbred patient were palpable in media interviews, which he handled with grace and grit throughout Barbaro’s 8 month ordeal.
Dr. Richardson was on hand to accept a 2006 Special Eclipse Award for New Bolton Center as well as Pimlico's 2007 Special Award of Merit for his positive contributions to the racing industry. He was honored by the Jacksons who gifted a $3 million endowment to New Bolton Center, creating a chair position in his name.
Dr. Richardson is an equestrian who owns three horses. He and his wife, Laura, also a veterinarian, have one son, currently a senior at Penn.
Read Dr. Richardson's answers to specifics related to Barbaro’s medical care here: http://www.vet.upenn.edu/bellwether/v65/article2.shtml http://www.bloodhorse.com/talkinhorses/DR081608.asp http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=9561