Dean Richardson, DVM, chief of surgery at New Bolton Center, the large animal campus of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, was presented with a check in the amount of $49,000 by Pfizer Animal Health and NTRA Charities’ Barbaro Fund for Equine Health and Safety Research. The funds will support a second year of Dr. Richardson’s in vivo gene transfer research for the treatment of laminitis. The presentation took place at Pimlico Race Course on Preakness Stakes Day, May 21, to honor the legacy of Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner. The awarding of the funds had been announced in March.
This year’s Preakness marked the fifth anniversary of Barbaro’s devastating injury. Barbaro spent eight months at New Bolton Center where Richardson and a team of veterinarians repaired shattered bones in his right hind limb. The horse, however, eventually succumbed to laminitis of his left hind foot, a devastating disease involving the tissue attaching the hoof wall and bone. Barbaro’s legacy has brought international attention to this painful disease that is considered one of the leading killers of horses. The Laminitis Institute founded at Penn Vet serves as a resource for current information. Richardson’s research focuses on developing a gene therapy approach to prevent laminitis in the contralateral hoof when a horse is being treated for a musculoskeletal injury.
Pfizer Animal Health is a major supporter of the Barbaro Fund for Equine Health and Safety Research. In consultation with the Grayson Foundation, the Barbaro Fund has disbursed $444,000 in support of scientific conferences and research to promote equine health and safety and find a cure for laminitis.
“Five years later and Barbaro continues to live in the hearts of fans around the world,” said Andrea Wright, DVM, marketing manager, Equine Biologicals at Pfizer Animal Health. “It was an honor to be a part of this special day and support the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Dean Richardson as they continue to strive for effective laminitis prevention and treatments.”
The NTRA (National Thoroughbred Racing Association) is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests consisting of leading thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, and maintains The Barbaro Fund for Equine Health and Safety Research.
“We are proud to continue our support of this important laminitis project, which has already come up with some promising preliminary data,” said NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop, who is also the president of NTRA Charities. “Pfizer’s generosity—along with the contributions of so many of Barbaro’s fans—has kept Barbaro’s memory alive in this very constructive way.”