A ten-week-old puppy bought on Gumtree had to be taken to an animal sanctuary after he failed to gain weight.

Emaciated Chihuahua cross Jack Russell, Pickle, weighed just 400g, less than half the weight of a bag of sugar, when he was bought from the online selling site at the beginning of February.

And his owner, who does not want to be named, said she knew there was something wrong when within a week of her taking him home, his condition rapidly deteriorated.

Worried for his welfare, she took him to Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, where staff began immediate care for him.

Manager at the Edenfield sanctuary, Karen Weed, said: "We didn't know if he would survive, he was emaciated and weighed just 400 grams. We were told he was 10 weeks old but he was obviously much smaller.

"His front legs wouldn't work, he was struggling with his coordination, and his temperature was low, so he was rushed to the vets."

Pickle, who is about the size of a small hairbrush, was given essential fluids and warmed-up, before being taken to a specialist the following day.

Ms Weed said: "They thought Pickle had hydrocephalus, which is fluid on the brain. It's a life-threatening condition but thankfully animals can make full recoveries."

Advising that it would be best for Pickle to be cared for at home, he went to stay with a Bleakholt staff member, where he continues to be assessed.

Bleakholt are now fundraising to help to save Pickle’s life.

Ms Weed continued: "Pickle struggles to retain heat and Bleakholt will welcome any small knitted coats for him.

"Staff did try to cover him with cut-up socks, but he managed to get them off.

"Over the last two weeks he's made huge progress and is starting to walk little steps, which is a boost.

"He's also gained over 250 grams and now weighs 650 grams."

Depending on how he develops, Pickle may need surgery in the future but for the moment, Bleakholt staff want to concentrate on getting him back to full fitness.

Ms Weed added: "He's become quite the celebrity at the sanctuary, but won't be available for homing until his condition has improved."

Anyone wishing to donate to Pickle should visit www.bleakholt.org/puppy-pickle