A starving horse found rotting to death in a tiny enclosure with no food or water has astounded vets by making a miracle recovery.
Dolly the two-year-old cob was cruelly abandoned on waste ground in south east London and had shrunk to a third of her normal weight when she was discovered four months ago.
The famished horse had developed sores all over her body after being so weak she had to lie in her own filth, and was thought to be just hours from death.
Back to good health: Dolly the horse has doubled her weight thanks to the help of animal charity Happy Endings and emergency treatment from vets
It is thought she had been dumped after giving birth to a foal, with her owner taking her baby and leaving the emaciated mare to starve.
Fortunately she was rescued in the nick of time after being spotted by a member of the public, who contacted animal charity Happy Endings in time for the poor animal to be rushed to a leading equine hospital.
Chris Johns, co-founder of Happy Endings, said: 'I have never seen a horse so close to death as Dolly, if we had got there a couple of hours later I don't think she would be alive now.
'Over the years I have seen some pretty awful examples of human cruelty, but I was shocked and devastated when we laid eyes on this poor little pony.
'She was so weak she was just laying on the ground, she barely had the energy to lift her head.
'She had pressure sores all over her head and body where she had been laying in her own filth and the stench of decomposing flesh was unbearable. She had literally been left to rot to death with no food and no water.'
Close to death: Four months ago Dolly was close to starving after being found with sores all over her body and having wasted away to a third of her normal weight
Dolly had suffered horrific pressure sores on her head, shoulder, across her back, ribs, hip and back leg where the weight of her bones had pressed on her skin and she was too weak to get up.
She only weighed 200kg, about a third of what she should have been, and her bones and ribs were clearly visible through her skin.
Mr Johns said: 'The vets warned us that Dolly was so close to death that she might not make it through the night. She was put on fluids straight away and her sores were cleaned and dressed.
'The transformation has been absolutely amazing - she looks a completely different horse'
'The transformation in Dolly is absolutely amazing - she looks like a completely different horse from the pitiful, skeletal, rotting creature, dumped on wasteground and left to slowly starve to death.
'It is a testament to Dolly's fighting spirit that she is still with us. Miracles like hers really make what we do worthwhile.'
Against the odds the weak and emaciated horse made it through the night and after a full check over it was discovered that apart from being extremely underweight and having infected pressure sores she had no other health conditions.
Her weight gradually increased and after four months she weighed in at a much more healthy 430kg and was allowed to go to Happy Endings Animal Rescue Charity in Hailsham, east Sussex, to continue her recovery.
Vet, Karl Holliman, said: 'In all my years in this profession, I have never seen a horse in this condition still alive.
'Sadly her story is not unusual. Every year during the cold winter months, horses across the country are abandoned in fields and left to succumb to the cold and slowly starve to death.'