A pony horrifically disfigured in a suspected acid attack has been named as Rescue Animal of the Year after receiving a “world first” operation to heal its burnt face.
Cinders was eight months old when she was found in 2018 wandering in agony in Chesterfield with horrific burns to her face that made her unable to open her eyes..
She was treated for at Rainbow Equine Hospital in Malton, North Yorkshire, and had pioneering surgery using fish skin in Wakefield.
Cinders was named as Rescue Animal of the Year in the 2020 Daily Mirror Animal Hero Awards.
Cinders new owner Julie, who has found her a new home at a country house in North Yorkshire, said: “I am so proud of Cinders and how she has come through this, she so deserves this award.
“She is an absolute hero and just a wonderful part of our family.”
Cinders’ story was followed around the world and donations from well wishers to help her recover flooded in.
Jamie Peyton, who had developed a process of using fish skin grafts to treat animals burned in wildfires, flew in from California to perform the surgery in May 2018.
She worked with a team of vets, and a plastic surgeon from the burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and the team worked on Cinders’ wounds, cleaning them before applying a dressing made from the skin of a tilapia fish to Cinders’ face to aid the growth of fresh tissue.
Vet David Rendle from the equine hospital explained that fish skin was used because it is a good source of collagen and retains moisture well.
New owner Julie added: “I don’t know how anyone could have done something so awful to such a trusting and gentle little creature. Luckily she is happy and healthy now.
“She stayed at Rainbow for about five months before she came to me, and she is now around three years old.
“I fell in love with Cinders the moment I saw her, she has been nothing but a joy to look after considering what she has been through. She is loving, trusting and inquisitive and has built up a special bond with two little donkeys that share a stable with her. They do everything together.”
Hundreds of people donated money towards her ongoing treatment, raising more than £17,000, including an elderly couple who drove 100 miles every week for a month to drop off £100 and to enquire on how she was getting on.
Jonathan Anderson, from the Rainbow Equine Hospital praised the generosity of the University of California Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital who sponsored Jamie Peyton to come and treat Cinders and funded her travel.
Mr Anderson said: “We also were in awe of the amazing collaboration of the plastic surgeons from Pinderfields, all of whom gave their own time and expertise for free on two occasions to help operate and perform facial reconstruction for Cinders.”
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He also thanked the hard work and dedication of the team of interns, nurses and vets from who “poured their heart and soul into caring for Cinders over the course of several months and made her life worth living again”.
This content was originally published here.