Krantz Stable Updates
Bad Things and Good Horses
- Published: January 22, 2003
- Written by Bryan Krantz
There is an adage in racing that "you can't hurt a bad horse but the good ones always have something wrong." I guess You'llbeinmyheart is a prime example of why folks have said this for years. Just as she was getting close to a race in the later part of November she had a reoccurrence of a sinus infection that had plagued her last year. A blood-tinged goo marked by a strong odor of rot had replaced the clear liquid oozing from the dark round recess of her nostril last year. After many rounds of treatment with antibiotics the problem still persisted. The treating veterinarian drilled a small hole in the sinus to pump in an antibiotic solution and flush the area but still there was no relief.
Out of options here at the track, the next consideration was assessment and treatment at a veterinary clinic. The best equine treatment centers in the world are in Kentucky. Rood and Riddle in Lexington has a top reputation as a surgery center with some of the best thoroughbred surgeons to be found. After calling to see who would handle a sinus problem we were referred to Dr. Ross Embertson. His specialty is throats and airways in racehorses. Thoroughbreds are tremendous cardiovascular machines. They depend heavily on their ability to breathe, oxidize red blood cells and pump blood through their system. The constructions of their sinus, esophagus and breathing mechanisms are a critical specialty in thoroughbred veterinary medicine. Dr. Embertson listened to the rundown on You'llbeinmyheart's ailment and took the information from Dr. Norwood, her attending vet here in New Orleans. We scheduled her van ride to Lexington and waited to hear back.
She arrived safe and sound in Lexington. Dr. Embertson examined her and confirmed the symptoms we had described. He placed a scope in her sinus through her nasal opening and detected a piece of dead bone about two inches long protruding in the sinus cavity. He speculated this piece had been dislodged by previous treatment and flushing. He removed the bone with forceps and described the bone fragment as being covered with fungus and smelling awful. His recommendation was to drill a larger hole in You'llbeinmyheart's sinus to place a scope in the sinus cavity. After this description of treatment had been given and permission granted he promised to call back shortly with the results. An hour or so later he was on the phone again.
The next news was not the best but not unexpected. You'llbeinmyheart appeared to have a mass in the sinus, which looked suspicious. Dr. Embertson speculated it would be unusual for a 4-year-old thoroughbred to have a cancerous growth. He described the next step as a surgery requiring the surgical opening of the sinus and scrapping the area to remove the mass. Once again he promised to call at his first opportunity after the procedure. Since it was late in the afternoon there would not be any news, short of bad, before the next morning.
The phone ID on my cell lit as the tone echoed from the ringer at 8:30 AM. The 859 area code telegraphed the anticipated call. Dr. Embertson described his finding a second piece of dead fungus-encrusted bone of about 2 inches and associated infected area surrounding it. He removed the bone and scraped the infection form the area. He speculated the affected area of bone was a result of infection settling in on the bone and cutting of the blood flow to the area killing the section of bone. He treated the sinus with antibiotics and packed the whole sinus with gauze to help stop bleeding. Since a horse's sinus runs from over the eye down the long snout it must take plenty of gauze to pack one. He described the gauze as being visible from the nostril.
So now we wait for her to heal and ponder if the right decision is to send her to Longfield Farm in Goshen, Ky., to convalesce to breed this spring, or recover to go back into training this summer, or both. Anyway, if she were a $5,000 claimer she never would have gotten the damn sinus infection. Horses like that never seem to get sick or hurt. The fact is, she is a nice one and its hard not to consider sending her to the breeding shed to pass those qualities on to some babies by the best sires we can match to her.