By Dillon Thomas

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Thanks to an extensive surgery by veterinarians at Colorado State University, a hunting dog from Wyoming has a second chance at life. Yeager, a retriever from Casper, Wyoming, was hit by a car on July 4.

“We didn’t expect him to survive,” said Lex Dyer, the dog’s owner.

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The injuries to Yeager’s face were significant. So much so, veterinarians in Wyoming said the best way to assure Yeager’s survival was to travel hours to Fort Collins for surgery.

“It was pretty severe. We thought he was gone at that point,” Dyer told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.

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As a result of the car collision, many bones in Yeager’s snout were broken. His eye was severely wounded, and bleeding.

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“He had pretty extensive injuries, mostly to his head,” said Dr. Lauren Hamil, Veterinary Medicine specialist at CSU.

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CSU veterinarians were unable to save Yeager’s eye; it was removed. Yeager’s upper mouth was broken in several places as well.

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“The inside of the roof of his mouth was split apart,” said Margie Smith, Dentistry and Oral Surgery specialist at CSU.

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Surgeons also feared Yeager was paralyzed after he was brought in unable to move.

“He wasn’t able to walk for the first 12 hours,” Smith said.

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Seven hours of surgery allowed surgeons to reconstruct much of Yeager’s snout, including his nose.

Yeager eventually regained his ability to move, and quickly returned to a high-energy dog.

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Dyer said his family had to try and limit Yeager as his energy was stronger than his wounds. After two months of healing, Yeager returned to CSU for a checkup, which some said couldn’t have gone better.

“He is just like the happiest dog,” Smith said.

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“We couldn’t be more pleased with how well things turned out,” Hamil said.

Other than loss of sight in one eye, Yeager quickly returned to his normal activity. While doctors said it would still take some time before they felt comfortable letting the dog return to hunting, they said he could likely do so one day.

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The Dyer family said one of the main side effects they’ve noticed from the whole surgery was louder snoring from Yeager.

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“It is a reassuring, soothing, sound,” Dyer said. “Knowing, at least he is still breathing. He has a super unique personality for a dog, and is truly part of the family.”

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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