UPDATED: ‘Nightmare scenario’; Paynter develops laminitis

by | 09.04.2012 | 2:53pm
Paynter wins Haskell Invitational

UPDATED TUESDAY, 8:45 p.m. EDT: (From Ahmed Zayat @jazz3162 on Twitter: “Here is what we are trying to do to help Paynter fight his battle. It will take a miracle but he is a fighter. Paynter had mild signs of foot pain today and mild radiographic changes. We flew in Dr. Bryan Fraley, an affiliate of the Hagyard Equine Medical Center to evaluate him this afternoon and placed casts to support his feet. He was very good for the procedure. His appetite has been greatly improved today and the diarrhea is improving. We are hopeful but are taking it day by day and his comfort is our first concern. Please pray the hardest you can. We still want to give him the chance to fight it as long as he is telling us he wants to. #keepfightingpaynter #warrior”

Ahmed Zayat published a series of posts on his Twitter account (@jazz3162) Tuesday afternoon that paint a grim picture for his Grade 1-winning 3-year-old Paynter. The Awesome Again colt, who's been battling colitis for the last nine days, has now developed laminitis in three of his four feet. Zayat said he will leave it up to veterinarians to make the call on whether or not to continue the battles.

“We need to be compassionate and merciful and treat our star with the respect and love that he deserves while giving him the best chance in fighting for his life,” Zayat said.

Following are all of Zayat's recent Tweets, with only minor editing.

Paynter update: ‘Paynter situation continues to get worse. He had a bad night and not such a good morning. I have spent significant time speaking to his angel Dr. Laura (Javsicas) as well as Dr. Mark Cheney and other renowned vets all over the country. Unfortunately we have a very sick horse. who has developed serious complications in the last 24 hours.

“Other than fighting bravely his colitis, he continues to have diarrhea as well as his protein blood level is very low. We continue to give him plasma to help him out. His blood work continues to be good as well as his temp, so on a standalone basis he is fighting bravely and hard the colitis and he continues to make some progress fighting that disease.

“On the other hand, as I have explained in my tweets yesterday that he is developing a new issue about his veins being swollen. a disease that is called DIC which stands for disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. The most concerning news is as of last night he started becoming  sore on his left foot and was scared to turn around and walk on it. Unfortunately, we only thought it was some swelling and eczema but it has worsened because today he has been diagnosed with our nightmare scenario of laminitis. It seems it is rapidly progressing after taking additoinal X-rays of the foot and discussing with some foot experts.

“Dr. Laura found out that he has developed it in 3 of his 4 legs, which is heartbreaking. Poor Paynter; I dont know how long he can fight this out so bravely without having pain and suffering. So far, Dr. Laura is very conscious of that and having his pain under control. But we need to look at all these problems.

“My deep concern is that he if he is a healthy horse he can fight laminitis, since it is the beginning but to be a sick horse and fight all these issues all at once, it is asking for too much.

“We need to be compassionate and merciful and treat our star with the respect and love that he deserves while giving him the best chance in fighting for his life. Please pray. Those are very detailed Tweets. as i am at loss in what's the right thing to do here, but I will leave it up to his caring and loving vet to decide what are the right courses of action. Please pray for pain-free Paynter.”

  • Convene

    No no no … This is NOT good! Of all the ills that befall horses, I think I hate laminitis most of all. How often it takes away a horse who has courageously triumphed over other injuries and diseases only to be felled by this awful disease! My prayers are with Paynter and the Zayats and my heart goes out to all of you.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    This is truly a set back and heartbreaking to hear.  I guess now it all depends on the degree of the laminitis and how much rotation has occured in the coffin bone.  For those that I am sure are going to ask, DIC is a condition that occurs when the body is losing its ability to form blood clots normally.  The body’s clotting mechanisms kind of go into hyperdrive and start clotting like crazy when there is no need to.  This leads to many clots forming that could be in bad places.  On the flip side of that…the body only has so many clotting factors it can use before they are depleted.  So the real danger with DIC is not so much the clotting, but the uncontrollable bleeding that can occur when the clotting can no longer happen.  This is the concern also with trying to get IV catheters into his neck.  The viens are so large there that if DIC is severe, there is a real risk of severe bleeding secondary to just the needle stick of the catheter.  I am amazed all the great work the vets are doing for him, and if there is anyone out there who can pull him through this…they can.  It is all on Paynter now though…and his bodies ability to fight this off.

  • James D. Jimenez

    A very sad turn of events that will most likely take Paynter from the the life he earned. 

  • Rachel

    Horses are such fragile creatures…laminitis is such a bizarre, nasty thing,

  • My prayers are for Paynter and for his people. I feel awful for them. Very sad.

  • Ida Lee

    OMG…such hope at one time only to be shattered by such an ominous turn of events. Please don’t let him suffer…

  • Barry Irwin

    Team Valor has had 3 horses die of Colitis. This must be an amazing animal, because the horses of ours that came down with this ailment died within hours, not days. He must be courageous and classy as hell. Mr. Zayat is the gamest owner in the sport, so I have every confidence that he will bounce back from this setback.

  • jjk

    Prayers are with you Paynter….

  • Anne

    How awful. Poor Paynter he has gone through so much these past 9 days. Just a nightmare indeed. My prayers go out to all of them but mostly for him. These animals give so much and yet ask for so little. Just plain sad.

  • My prayers are with Paynter.  I had the good fortune to see this magnificent animal run and commend Mr. Zayat for his compassion and respect for this horse.

  • Laurie

    My thoughts are with the Zayats and their beloved Paynter, as well as the medical staff.


  • Marilyn

    I pray that beautiful Paynter will make a full recovery.  My heart goes out to Mr. Zayat.  We need more people and horse owners like him in the world.

  • Tveazey

    Bless his heart, If i had the power I would make him well in a heartbeat.  Just do not let him suffer.  Kiss his sweet soft nose with lots of kisses and let him know how very much he is loved.

  • Delrene22

    Very sad news…. such a courageous horse.  I know you will not allow him to suffer for one minute….. So sorry to hear of the latest turn of events.  My heart goes out to all, if my tears could make him better he would be racing out in his paddock with his buddies.

  • HappyHarriet

    Thank you, Ray. You are the reliable news source and collective for me.  Prayers for the Paynter Team.  We share the good in our instant communication world, and that means we also share the heartbreak when the news is oh so bad. 

  • Mike D

    If there is a miracle out there, please deliver it Paynter asap.  He certainly needs and deserves it; as does Mr. Zayat for bravely soldiering on during this grim time for his horse.

  • wallyhorse

    Horrible news!!  We can only hope what happens to Paynter, he won’t suffer too much.  This is sounding grim.

  • Fdoos

    This is just so heartbreaking.  The Zayat’s seem to be wonderful people who love this horse.  I know that they will make the appropriate decision.  We must support this awesome family through this horribly difficult time.

  • Just Beachy

     As we all know, heartbreaking and multiple problems here.  Humans survive DIC too but this is not an easy row…the biggest prayers for all concerned, especially Paynter…Horse hugs, too… 

  • ktq1

    I recommend sending donations to The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, in Paynter’s name and ask that the funds go towards laminitis research.  We lose too many good horses to this ugly disease.  

  • Mbblair

    I send my family’s thoughts and prayers to him, his trainer, his vets, his owners, and the whole team.  There are tons of people out there pulling for him to make a full recovery.  Glad that he is in such good hands going through this.  We love you big guy!!!

  • Guest

    My heart and prayers go out to Paynter, the Zayats and Paynter’s veterinary care team.

    We all know the depth of the highs and lows in this business, but it is in these dark hours the light shines brightly on the horse human connection where the humans exhibit the same determination, heart and courage we have all witnessed so often by horses.

  • Meyer1127

    So sad the pain and suffering and the fight this horse has in his heart and spirit is amazing.

  • Just Beachy

    It is true that miracles happen.  I don’t give up on that.  But, I pray for whatever is the right thing, and without suffering for Paynter.  Hugs…  

  • giftoffaith

    So sad, hang in there big guy, more prayers for Paynter and the Zayat family. Praying for the miracle.

  • caseyrvt2b

    My first thought when I read the tweets this morning, was oh $*&%!.  I was afraid of DIC yesterday and now laminitis.  If treated aggressively, the laminitis can be minimized, but the DIC has me worried sick.  I’m a vet tech who worked at a critical care/emergency small animal hospital, and we saw a lot of DIC’s.  I’m concerned because so many cases were the result of sepsis.  I pray that this brave colt can be saved, but I know that the Zayats won’t let him suffer.  This is heartbreaking, indeed

  • Tonilee

    Very very sad.  My heart goes out to the owners and vet team. 

  • DianeTPelletier

    I don,t cry easily but this news has my tears running I pray to God that he be spared He is so special

  • Gfpowell

    Paynter is a fighter both on and off the track.

  • Just Beachy

    Paynter is a fighter, and I think it helps him a lot to know that he is so loved.  Yes, I know that this is not pretty, and it can turn on a dime, but people AND horses do survive these things.  We started praying about this when we first heard it.  My spouse, clergy, suggested I do visualization prayer, which is beautiful  and hopefully helpful–I know the outcome is not up to me, but I’m going to try like crazy in asking for Paynter’s healing.  On Friday, when picking up my freshman(HS) son at school, the first question out of his mouth was, “HOW’S PAYNTER?!!”  :-) 

    Fight, boy, fight, and be just as stubborn, bullheaded, and focused as all the people around you and praying for you.  And it’s like the old saying, “the race is not always to the swift, but to those who KEEP ON RUNNING”… 

    The biggest prayers, again, for all concerned… 

  • updated message on Twitter 
    Zayat message “Here is what we are trying to do to help paynter fight his battle, it will take a miracle but he is a fighter. Paynter had mild signs of foot pain today and mild radiographic changes. We flew in Dr. Bryan Fraley, an affiliate of the Hagyard Equine Medical Center to evaluate him this afternoon and placed casts to support his feet. He was very good for the procedure . His appetite has been greatly improved today and the diarrhea is improving. We are hopeful but are taking it day by day and his comfort is our first concern. Please pray the hardest you can. We still want to give him the chance to fight it as long as he is telling us he wants to.”  

  • It is incredibly refreshing to see one owner express his respect for another owner! Thank you, Mr. Irwin.

  • oops sorry just realized this was above .

  • Ron Crookham

    My prayers go out to Mr. Zayat and the connections of Paynter.

    Nefer sedjmek

  • Kthjcksn

    God bless him! Praying!

  • Swiss305

    Does anyone know if there have been any advancements in the treatment of laminitis since Barbaro’s passing and the money donated to the laminitis fund for research in his memory?  I’m hoping there are more options for treatment today.  I’m confident they won’t let Paynter suffer needlessly.  God help all involved.

  • Frank

    I think Zayat should cool it. Let the vets do their job especially through the complications. Cheer lead when great Paynter is in the clear. If not, I don’t think it’s right to share with the public the excruciating dilemma of making a difficult choice. It’s almost like he’s acting out and asking the public for psychological understanding or something. Especially with the mention of suffering. It’s your decision. He sounds needy and confused, but it’s Paynter who needs the help.

  • M.A. Thrope

    Mr. Zayat isn’t the one with colitis, is he?

  • Greg Jones

    Sorry, don’t see the point of such a snarky comment to Mr. Irwin, not classy at all.

  • Greg Jones

    Mr. Zayat,  Thank you for all you are doing to help Paynter as her continues to fight.  Continued prayers for Paynter…

  • Just Beachy

     Medically I’m with one of the posters below.  I pray they can keep the laminitis at bay, because possibly if the rest of it turns around, IT will turn around.  But my prayers are probably bigger that there is no undue bleeding/clotting and they are able to get him out of DIC.  Prayers again… 

  • Tveazey

    Paynter we are praying for you to have the strength to fight this terrible , terrible disease.  Please get better pretty boy.  You have so many who have you in their thoughts and prayers.  I must be very painful for you to keep going.  Just know how much you are loved. Dr OZ had a program about parasites and the expert he had on the show said the best thing was  Papaya Seed with honey that will kill the parasites , eggs and lava.   A tablespoon  twice a day for humans .  Has he been checked for parasites ?   Don’t let any stone be unturned.   Sending big kisses to your so soft nose and a big hug.

  • Tveazey

    oops should be it must be

  • I was afraid to read the racing news yesterday….I PRAY, Dear God, PLEASe help this horse beat the odds. Paynter is a fighter, & I truely believe with God’s healing touch, he will win this battle. Hang in there Dear Friend. We are all praying for you. 

  • Francis Bush

    Here’s another case of overtraining and/or over racing. Some of these young horses can take a beating, others can’t. The racing world needs to discover the cause of illness in the most expensive ones or those with the most talent.

  • In Tears

    this news is hard to read. What a big heart Paynter has to keep the will to live.
    I agree with Barry Irwin’s comment.  My horse was a two year old in the pasture, not doing a thing but being happy. We found him down in the pasture and could not even get him up.
    How I wish I could save Paynter and other horses that went through colitis. Keep trying.

  • Ceciles

    Type your comment here.Your words are so comforting… what is visualization prayer, I’ve not heard of this.

  • Charlie


    Laminil, an aid in the treatment of acute laminitis- the first injectable drug treatment

     I am asking you assistance in getting laminil to the vets of Paynter. Laminil has been accepted for approval by the FDA for investigational drug testing . Laminil Will be able to help Paynter and LAMINIL IS AN FDA APPROVED HUMAN DRUG , THAT CAN BE LEGALLY USED OFF LABEL for cases like this. laminil has been used on 54 acute laminitis cases and 104 laminitis feet without any side effects. Ray at least open the door. I have been an expert in laminitis for 25 years. This drug show effecacy in laminitis. We will all be to blame if this horse is euthanized.
    Charlie owen/[email protected]

  • Teri

    Keeping Paynter and Mr. Zayat in my thoughts and prayers.  As a former owner of horses I understand some of the decisions that have to be made, he shows how much he cares about this horse by all that has been done for him (Paynter).  Others would have “cut their losses” and euthanized him.  That would have been their decision to do so.  Mr. Zayat and a lot of other owners have such emotional attachments to their animals and have the means to do the extra mile.  It is a wonderful thing to see happen.  I hope he will be rewarded and Paynter recovers.  It doesn’t matter if he ever goes to stud, it only matters that he recovers.  Keep fighting Paynter!

  • Balcerak Karen

    I will start praying to St. Jude. He is the Saint of the impossible. I have seen his miracles at work many times in 8 years as an RN in Labor & Delivery.

  • Ksweatman9

    Many people sending prayers for Paynter, I agree, he’s a tough pony. I commend Mr. Zayat for the compassion and patience he’s shown his horse. I’ve been thinking of Animal Kingdom lately. Is there still hope of a comeback after all of his setbacks? A beautiful talented colt, indeed. I wish him well.


    I am so saddened to read of Paynter’s health issues, and will send all possible good thoughts and prayers.  Keep a good thought, there is always always hope

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