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New Bolton Center of the University of PA's School of Veterinary Medicine

Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro's Injury Brings Center to National Attention


New Bolton Center of the University of PA's School of Veterinary Medicine

Barbaro After Surgery at the New Bolton Center

Photo by Sabina Louise Pierce/University of Pennsylvania

Barbaro Post-surgery and Recovery Photos

It's always amazes me how so much good often come out of something so terribly bad. Such is the case with the traumatic injury suffered by Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro at the Preakness on Saturday afternoon. We've all read how in the past many horses that have suffered similar injuries were put down on the spot. Luckily, the owners and trainer of Barbaro had another option.

Right here in Chester County we have the preeminent facility to treat horses who have suffered serious and life-threatening injuries. It is, of course, the New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Within the Center is the George D. Widener Hospital where Barbaro underwent six hours of complex surgery under the direction of Dr. Dean W. Richardson, Chief of Surgery and the Charles W. Raker Professor of Equine Surgery at Penn Vet’s Widener Hospital at New Bolton Center. Dr. Richardson is an internationally recognized orthopedic surgeon whose research focuses on cartilage repair. Dr. Richardson has been part of New Bolton Center since 1979.

I've driven past this facility on numerous occasions on my way to Lancaster County. It's located on West Street Road otherwise known as State Highway 926, not far from Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.

As indicated on the website, "The New Bolton Center is one of the busiest large animal teaching veterinary clinics in the nation. Each year the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals sees more than 6,000 patient visits, and its Field Service sees more than 19,000 patient visits. In addition to its role as one of the nation’s finest equine surgical facilities, New Bolton Center encompasses hospital facilities for the care of large animals and livestock as well as diagnostic laboratories serving the agriculture industry and the monitoring of emerging infectious disease."

Clearly, if there is any chance that Barbaro's life could be saved, this is the place for him to receive care. So far, all reports appear favorable. The Associated Press quotes Dr. Richardson on Tuesday, May 23, "He's actually better today than he was even yesterday, and he was pretty good yesterday, He's walking very well on the limb, absolutely normal vital signs. He's doing very well." This is good news indeed for horse enthusiasts and animal lovers everywhere.

Hundreds of people have visited the Center since Saturday evening. Many have left flowers, letters, posters and other good wishes for Barbaro. Due to the overwhelming outpouring of support for Barbaro, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine has also established a website where people can send messages of support for Barbaro.

Barbaro Fund to Benefit Sick and Injured Animals

Here's where the story turns much better. An anonymous donor has given a very generous gift to launch the Barbaro Fund for the George D. Widener Hospital at New Bolton Center. Donors can offer their support for animals treated at New Bolton Center. Donations will go directly to a fund for the Widener Hospital and not specifically for Barbaro’s care.

In reacting to the news of the fund, Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro's owner stated, "It is wonderful that we can create something so very good out of Barbaro’s tragedy and to help celebrate animal athletes, This fund in Barbaro’s name will honor him and provide a lasting resource to help care for animals treated at the Widener Hospital."

Donations are being accepted online and by mail. It is a worthy cause. Too often, especially in the Greater Philadelphia / South Jersey area, sick and injured animals are euthanized for the simple reason that their owners cannot afford to care for them. This fund will go a long way to help some of those who cannot help themselves.

Donors can find out how to offer monetary gifts at:
Specify that your donation is for the Barbaro Fund.

Well-wishers can send e-mail to Barbaro via a form at:

For pictures and updates on Barbaro’s condition, visit:

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