An abandoned dog was unrecognisable after its fur was so matted its leg became fused to its ear and caused the fur around his eye to peel away from the skin.
The six-year-old lhasa apso, now named Soldier, was rescued by a dog warden who found him wandering the streets of Leeds, West Yorks.
The dog was badly neglected and his rescuers believe the tiny ball of fluff had not been groomed in months in a case which had shocked vets.
Dog warden Harriet Chaplin alerted the RSPCA to the little pup’s plight after finding him before rushing him to a local vet on June 3 this year.
“The matts were so bad they were pulling his skin off around the eye and his front leg was matted to his ear.
“I believe he was either dumped in this area or has come from a home nearby as I don’t think he could have wandered far in this state.”
He was taken in by Dogs Trust Leeds who then set about the delicate task of trying to remove the hair and alleviate his pain.
He had to be anaesthetised so veterinary staff could shave the coat and he was kept in for three days.
RSPCA chief inspector Heidi Jenner said: “This poor dog must have been left without any grooming for months to get into such a state.
“I can easily say this is the worst case of matted fur that I’ve ever seen. When you first see the pictures of little Soldier you can’t even tell he’s a dog, let alone what breed he is.
“To allow an animal to get into this condition is absolutely shocking – there is no excuse for it.
“We’d be keen to hear from anyone who may know where Soldier has come from to contact our appeal line on 0300 123 8018 so we can investigate.”
Dogs Trust Leeds took care of the pooch for a number of days before he was taken in by a fosterer.
“He wasn’t recognisable as a dog, it was unbelievable.
“We really didn’t know if he was going to make it but we are relieved to say that he has started to eat and we are hoping that he will continue to improve, but it is very early days.”