Last week, Hillside Animal Sanctuary took in a herd of ponies from a Welsh common and among them were several heavily pregnant mares and one mare with a very young foal at foot.
The foal was thought to be just under a week old and was having trouble ingesting his mother's milk.
On closer inspection, staff at the sanctuary realised that the young foal had a cleft palate and instead of swallowing all of the milk, most was returning back through his nose.
The sanctuary's vet took a closer look and discovered that it was much worse than originally thought and, if left untreated, the milk could easily enter his lungs and cause life-threatening pneumonia.
Rather than have the foal put down, Hillside were left with only one option and sent him, with his mum, to Cambridge Veterinary Hospital for an operation to correct the birth defect.
The surgery, due to be carried out next Monday, has been estimated to cost between £3000 to £5000 and the sanctuary are appealing for donations to help fund the operation and the ongoing care that Hillside provide.