Vets believe that the injuries sustained by Kauto Star in a field accident last week were exacerbated several days after his initial fall.
The record-breaking National Hunt star was put down on Monday (29 June).
The 15-year-old gelding broke his neck and pelvis and was put down when he developed further complications of pneumonia and laminitis.
Kauto suffered the injury at home at event rider Laura Collet’s yard in Lambourn last Wednesday (24 June).
However, after treatment by the yard vet he was taken to Valley Equine Hospital late on Saturday night (27 June) when the injuries were “failing to respond satisfactorily to treatment”.
His injuries included a complex fracture to the pelvis and a fracture at the base of the neck.
It is still unclear exactly what caused the injury. Connections believe he might have tried to jump something.
However, in the past few days there has been some debate from the public on the time frame and speculation on what might have happened, prompting a further comment from the vets to the Racing Post yesterday.
Yard vet Tom Campbell told the Racing Post that they believe the horse tried to jump out of the paddock, but fell and landed on his left side.
“We were worried he had a pelvis fracture,” he told the paper. “However, with injuries like that you are reluctant to move a horse to hospital as the more you move him the more you can make him unstable, so he was placed on box rest and cross-tied.”
However, they believe the horse then went down in the cross tie twice on Saturday.
Hattie Lawrence, treating vet at Valley Equine Hospital, said she believed there was a “material change in his condition” on Saturday. She said he had becoming “increasingly wobbly” over Sunday and Monday, to the point he couldn’t stand.
She told H&H today (Thursday 2 July): “The additional information was put out there as a clarification regarding timescales.
“He got down [on the cross tie] on Saturday before I’d seen him and almost certainly as a result of this his injuries from Wednesday were exacerbated at this point.
“The injuries in his neck were there but not yet apparent until then.
“The complications [laminitis and pneumonia] arose from him having to stand in the same position for a prolonged period of time, the only way to keep him safe.
“He was being treated with anti inflammatories and antibiotics and managed in a way to keep him and calm and quiet.
“It is unusual to have neck and pelvic injuries simultaneously but in any horse racing or falling this could occur.”