She is called Matilda - but a pedigree puppy could have been called Matt as she was born a hermaphrodite.

There is a one in three million chance of a hermaphrodite animal being born, so 11-week-old English bull terrier Matilda amazed vets and staff at Happy Endings Rescue in Faversham in Kent.

The puppy, born with both male and female reproductive organs, was taken in by the charity in the belief that with straightforward treatment to her deformed hind leg she could live a normal life and be re-homed.

Happy Endings Rescue is now struggling to meet the costs of helping Matilda and her more complicated condition.

She had an operation to remove ovaries, testicles and her deformed leg, according to Chris Johns from the charity.

He said it was deemed easier to make her a female, and added that a "bizarre" growth, which might have been a penis, was removed, along with what seemed to be a second vagina.

Mr Johns said: "We regularly see pedigree puppies discarded by breeders for being 'imperfect' and didn't think Matilda was any different. In fact, she is such a little character we knew straight away we had to help her.

"That's what makes it all the more heartbreaking now that we are struggling to meet the costs of more complex surgery."

He added: "To watch she is a normal, lively puppy - running around jumping and playing. She loves being cuddled and held, she's utterly adorable."

The cost of giving Matilda the life-changing medical care she now needs is continuing to rise, and Mr Johns said: "Vets initially thought it would cost £2,000 to operate on Matilda and remove all of her additional organs - but this is now steadily increasing."

He said he thinks £3,000 is a more likely figure, and the charity is holding auctions and collections in a bid to raise the cash.

Terry Kemp who runs the charity with Mr Johns said: "We have had some wonderful donations and support and we are so incredibly grateful.

"However we need to keep fundraising if we are to make sure Matilda can grow up to be a happy, healthy little lady."

To donate to the fund, see the charity's website www.happyendingsrescue.org or phone 01795 530371.