Yasmina was struggling to walk after developing a painful ligament condition. Her elderly owner was struggling to look after her and turned to his son to make sure his faithful donkey got the medical care she so urgently needed.

Yasmina being brought to the Morocco centre

For years, Yasmina the donkey has been an integral part of Nadim’s family. She helps his two young sons carry water back from the well and transports the family to and from market every week across rural Morocco.

Nadim had always taken excellent care of his trusted animal and knows the work of SPANA well, having come to the Chemaia centre regularly to ensure his donkey is in top shape.

But since Nadim had fallen seriously ill and was confined to a bed, he knew he needed help to look after the family farm and care for Yasmina, especially as he had noticed that Yasmina was having more and more trouble walking and had developed a limp in recent days.

Vets operate on Yasmina's ligament Nadim called for his eldest son Ahmed, a 25 year old seasonal worker living in Marrakesh. Knowing his family needed him, Ahmed dropped everything to come home and help his ill father and two young brothers. The kind hearted Ahmed has always cared for his family’s animals and upon seeing Yasmina’s limp, immediately brought her to the SPANA centre.

Yasmina's case of ballerina foot

The vets were immediately struck with how gentle Ahmed was with Yasmina and knew that this donkey was in excellent hands. Ahmed explained how in the past weeks, Yasmina’s limp had become more and more pronounced. Neither Ahmed nor Nadim had any idea what could have caused Yasmina’s sudden pain but stopped using her for work right away.

Yasmina being discharged from the centre

The vets took x-rays and examined her posture to try to determine the cause of Yasmina’s lameness. As she entered the centre, the vets noticed her odd gait – she walked while standing on her toes like a ballet dancer, all of her weight bearing down on her hoof tips. The vets finally came to the diagnosis of ‘flexor tendon contracture’, otherwise known as “ballerina syndrome” which causes contracted ligaments and makes horses and donkeys to trip over their own feet. In Yasmina’s case, this was most likely the result of a small injury to her leg that had gone unnoticed.

Unfortunately, this condition has to be corrected with surgical intervention but to Ahemd’s great relief, the staff were ready to operate within the hour. Under general anaesthesia, the vets got to work on the contracted tendon, setting it to heal in a more natural position. Within an hour, Yasmina was recovering in her stall after receiving painkillers and anti-tetanus injections.

Yasmina recovering back on her family farm

The family happily allowed Yasmina to rest and recover in the SPANA centre for two weeks while they walked the nine kilometres every few days to visit her. Yasmina’s limbs were rehabilitated with a combination of regular exercise and correct hoof trimming which should prevent the condition from returning. At the end of two weeks, Yasmina was back to her happy, healthy self and ready to return to the family farm.

Atif and his father were thrilled with the results. They were instructed to continue the corrective hoof trimming and bring Yasmina back within the month for a check-up.

Atif dutifully brought her back soon after to make sure she was healing and said,

She is precious to my entire family. I am grateful to SPANA team for having treated Yasmina. Without Chemaia centre, I would have inevitably lost Yasmina

Share SPANA's work

Latest Updates

  • Man and brown horse morocco

    Katy came to our SPANA centres in pain after a head collar injury. Read about her road to recovery below. This graceful eight-month old filly Katy…

  • Stopping the donkey skin trade

    SPANA Chief Executive Geoffrey Dennis explains how millions of donkeys are at risk because of rapidly growing demand for ‘ejiao’, a product made from donkey…

One comment on “Yasmina’s ballerina toes

  1. chrissie Baines on

    it breaks my heart to see how all these wonderful creatures suffer.I am so pleased organisations like spana are here to help,and proud to do my bit ,however small it is.keep up the amazing work you do.Blessed be.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *