A young donkey who was born with “ballerina syndrome” that meant he could only stand on tiptoes has made a remarkable recovery.
Two-year-old Casey was born with the condition, which causes contracted ligaments and so meant he could not put his feet flat to the ground.
It had caused the tendons in his legs to tighten to the extent that he had to walk on tiptoes, and he was unbalanced and prone to tipping over.
When he was two months old, he started receiving treatment, which involved stretching each of his front legs three times a day. These exercises slowly helped lengthen the tendons. At the same time, a farrier fitted extensions on to Casey’s front hooves to help bring his heels down on the ground.
“As with all physiotherapy cases, there are ups and downs, and Casey’s situation was no different,” said Maria Hughes, one of Casey’s grooms at the Donkey Sanctuary.
Grooms would walk him up and down a slope every day to exercise the tendons and encourage his body to adapt to a more natural position. They began to see minor progression week by week, and by January 2019, Casey’s legs had markedly improved.
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Despite the intensive treatment, Casey’s symptoms of ballerina syndrome began creeping back earlier last year.
“We could see Casey starting to come back on to his tiptoes. 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,” said Maria.
“The team’s dedication and hard work finally paid off and we are delighted to see this young donkey can now trot around comfortably and play with his friends.”
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