Donkey overcame ”ballerina” syndrome thanks to caring specialists and hard work
It is the story of a young donkey who could only stand on tiptoes due to an unusual condition. He has made great strides thanks to life-changing veterinary treatment at international animal welfare charity.
Two-year-old Casey was born with ‘ballerina syndrome’. This condition meant he could not put his feet on the ground. The syndrome also left him unbalanced and prone to tipping over.
He started receiving treatment from the age of just two months old. The treatment involved stretching each of his front legs three times a day. These exercises slowly helped to lengthen the tendons. At the same time, the doctor fitted extensions onto Casey’s front hooves to help bring his heel down on the ground. Grooms would also walk Casey up and down a slope every day to exercise the tendons.
The results were not immediate, however, the dedicated staff at the charity did not give up in their quest to have Casey walking properly. They began to see minor progression week by week, and later on Casey’s legs had markedly improved.
Despite the intensive treatment, Casey’s symptoms of ballerina syndrome began creeping back earlier last year.
“We could see Casey starting to come back onto his tiptoes again,” said Maria Hughes. She is one of Casey’s grooms at The Donkey Sanctuary. “When he walked, it was obvious. After a vet and farrier reassessed him, they recommended we fit him with special remedial shoes to help him walk properly again.
Thankfully, his new treatment has helped Casey. “As with all physiotherapy cases, there are ups and downs and Casey’s situation was no different,” said Maria. “But the team’s hard work finally paid off and we are happy to see this young donkey can now run around comfortably and play with his friends.”
Donkeys with ballerina syndrome are unable to fully weight bear through their solar surfaces and stand on their toes instead. The condition is relatively rare in equines. However, if left unattended the condition can result in lameness and often requires surgery.