There is a glimmer of hope that Metro Meteor, the famous painting horse who suffered sudden onset blindness over the weekend, will recover, says his owner.
Ron Krajewski reports that his famous OTTB, a media celebrity since he learned to grip a paintbrush in his teeth to create abstract acrylic paintings, shows signs of improving after testing positive for a type of contamination known to cause temporary, reversible blindness.
Metro tested positive for leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can be transmitted between species, including man, and can cause equine uveitis, which he was diagnosed with, and is the leading cause of blindness in horses, according to published reports. If Metro’s uveitis is recurring, his team hopes to get him into New Bolton for eye surgery, Krajewski says.
A Cyclosporine implant surgery, which would fight the uveitis, would only be sought if the uveitis is found to be recurring, he adds.
Race name: Metro Meteor
Sire: City Zip
Dam: Here Comes Nikki
Foal date: March 13, 2003
Earnings: $299,420Currently under the care of his regular vet, Dr. Kimberly Brokaw, DVM, no effort has been spared—the vet took a day off from her practice to be with him—as Metro’s team helped the beautiful 13-year-old bay weather another storm in his life of ups and downs.
Brokaw is working hard to get Metro seen by a specialist at New Bolton, after an attempt to ship him themselves failed on Monday. The goal now is to hire professional shippers to move the horse to the hospital, Krajewski says, noting he is optimistic Metro will pull through this, yet another setback in his life of ups and downs.
“This is an amazing horse, and he has already made many comebacks in his life,” Krajewski says. “First he was a racehorse who couldn’t run anymore. Then he was a trail horse who couldn’t carry a rider anymore. A few years ago we were told he had only a year or two left to live because of bone-growth conditions, and every time, he made a comeback. And I’ve no doubt he’ll come back from this, and get his vision back.”
Metro’s eye problems started about a week ago with a “squinty” left eye. His visual range in that eye quickly deteriorated, and then the problem spread to his right eye. By Saturday, he was fully blind, and panicked, Krajewski says.
He was placed immediately on antibiotic Doxycycline even before his blood work returned the positive test for the contaminant; a regimen of eye treatments followed.
One medication, Atropine, which has been used to protect his pupils, has likely compounded his blindness, Krajewski says, noting that when the as-needed medication is not given, Metro’s vision clears slightly. “I check his pupils everyday with a flashlight. If they’re round, he doesn’t get the Atropine. If they’re constricted and square, he does. On the days he doesn’t get the treatment, he sees light and shapes, but he can’t make anything out,” he says.
Although Metro was scheduled to see a specialist at the New Bolton Center on Monday, plans were changed when the terrified animal, who was fully blind that morning, refused to load onto the trailer.
“He tripped and fell down to his knees, and after that, he wouldn’t load,” he says. “We tried from about 6 to 9 a.m. when we finally brought him back to his stall.”
Metro fell a second time upon trying to enter his stall on Monday, and it took several hours to calm him down, he adds.
But by Tuesday, Metro’s demeanor seemed calmer, and Krajewski was feeling a little more optimistic about his outlook.
Though the process is expected to take six weeks, he is hopeful that with antibiotics and eye treatment, Metro’s vision will slowly return to normal.
In the meantime, Metro will not be making any more paintings in the foreseeable future, says Krajewski,who notes that fans, in an effort to help defray costs, have been buying up the remaining acrylic paintings.
Fans have come out of the woodwork to try to help, some suggesting a GoFundMe campaign be started for the medical expenses, Krajewski says. “We have politely declined. It has always been our intent that Metro be a horse who helps other horses through his charitable contributions (from painting sales), and not be a charity himself,” he says, noting that they do not accept cash donations.
However, those wishing to help may consider purchasing Metro’s other merchandise, he says.
- Metro’s coloring book: http://www.amazon.com/Coloring-Metro-Ron-Krajewski/dp/1517529816
- Metro’s biography: http://www.amazon.com/Painting-Metro-Crippled-Racehorse-Paintbrush/dp/0882825127
- Metro’s prints: http://fineartamerica.com/artists/ron+krajewski
Meantime, Metro’s team is hopeful. “Our vet is confident his that everything she is seeing right now in Metro is reversible,” he says. “She’s already talking about cutting back some of his medications.”