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Monet's Garden now on lower dose of painkillers.

Byline: Lee Mottershead

THE amount of painkillers being given to the critically ill Monet's Garden was reduced over the weekend, with vets keen to assess how the hugely popular former chaser will react to a reduced dose of drugs that, while alleviating his suffering, could at the same time damage his internal organs.

A life-threatening hoof infection has left owner David Wesley Yates and trainer Nicky Richards bracing themselves for the worst scenario, an outcome that would devastate fans of the front-running star, whose courage and bold jumping have made him a firm favourite.

Although yet to respond to antibiotics, Monet's Garden has been helped by painkillers, but Richards said: "The painkillers are doing their job but it would be no fun to anyone if the horse was just stuck in his stable for the rest of his life.

"The painkillers are also not good for the kidney or liver and will eventually start to do damage, so over the weekend we reduced the amount we give him. As yet there has been no adverse reaction.

"As long as the horse is happy and not suffering, I'm sure David will continue to give him every chance, but if we detect any suffering we would have to think about things pretty quickly.

"He is not going forward and not going backward. It's all up to the horse now, but he has a struggle on his hands.

"I'm praying to God that he makes some progress. It would be great if we could give him a summer at grass and a bit of a retirement."

Seeking to highlight the complexity of Monet's Garden's injury, and addressing the problem of commenting on the specifics of the case, Tim Morris, the BHA director of equine science and welfare, said: "By way of comparison, let us take a more common problem, that of the Harbinger fracture in the summer.

"That was a well recognised type of fracture.

"Most vets would be able to look at his x-rays and comment on them as a typical, repeatable injury.

"The issue here is that Monet's Garden has had this condition for some time, so it is complicated. The navicular bone is a very complicated area.

"It's a spaghetti junction down there of joints, tendons and bones - a picture would tell a thousand words.

"It's very complex and there are lots of things that could be affected and infected.

"With chronic long-term navicular bone injuries, one could be entirely different from another and when an infection has been going on a long time, it is serious.

"You can't speculate on something that is complicated and has been going on for a while."

Morris added: "The navicular bone is in a crucial position.

"A crude analogy would be to a fanbelt in a car, which keeps an engine cool. It's a small part but crucial.

"Say you have an infected joint in your thumb, a doctor could say, 'Let's have it off'. But a horse has only one thumb. It's a crucial part of a horse, weight-bearing and it's involved in all his movement and mechanics.

"If that movement is causing pain, then it's obviously bad news."

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Diagram of the complicated navicular bone of a horse
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 10, 2011
Words:538
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