Three lice-ridden emaciated Shetland ponies have been rescued by Bransby Horses.

The ponies, Alfie, Tinkerbell and Tyrian, were being kept in Nottinghamshire and had body condition scores of 0, 1 and 0.5, respectively.

All three were “extremely lethargic” when collected by the charity.

Alfie collapsed in the trailer on the way back to the rescue centre and has since had to be lifted by the Bransby team on numerous occasions. He has “no muscle or fat on him” and weighs 35kg.

“The vet is taking this case very seriously and we are monitoring all three of the ponies around the clock,” said Ryan Rouse, head of external welfare at Bransby Horses.

“Their blood results show severe health issues that we must tackle carefully once they have stabilised, but the main aim at the moment is to simply build their strength. We are lucky to have a great support network that offers advice in these situations.

“The severity of their weight loss is masked by their thick coats which is not an uncommon feature with welfare cases over the winter. It is very worrying to think this is only the start of the colder weather and we are already dealing with such horrific cases; it leaves an uneasy feeling with us all.”

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A charity spokesman added: “The rescue coincided with the first of this year’s cold weather and with space already limited at the charity, foster homes are desperately needed for rescued animals to free up more space for intakes this winter.”

Those interested in rehoming should visit www.bransbyhorses.co.uk

Bransby Horses is currently caring for more than 400 horses, donkeys and mules.