Jasper has recently come out of our veterinary hospital having had an operation on a tendon in one of his back legs to help with his 'Ballerina Syndrome'. Although he's now back with the other donkeys, he requires daily therapy from the grooms.
This short video is of Jasper having a physio session. The aim is to encourage him to put weight down on his heel. He also has an extended shoe on so that he can place his foot better. The physio involves walking Jasper around as well as lifting up his other legs to help him put the weight down on his foot.
What is Ballerina Syndrome?
"Ballerina Syndrome" (also known as distal interphalangeal joint flexural deformity) can be seen in young animals where it may be associated with excessive feeding or fast growth at an early age. It can however be seen in animals of any age and is most likely associated with the presence of pain, which needs to be identified and treated.
In the early stages, particularly in young animals the condition may be corrected by regularly trimming the donkey's heels alongside controlled exercise and a restriction in the animal's diet.
In more severe cases, it can be treated by surgery of the deep digital flexor tendon and application of shoes with toe extensions. Where surgery has been performed, regular (approximately six weekly) farriery is required to help prevent a recurrence.
The donkey should have box rest for 10-14 days, followed by restricted exercise, depending on its temperament. If they are not restricted, young boisterous animals can over-exercise and delay healing of the tendon, while sensible animals may heal adequately on paddock rest.
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