Fran Cole, of Davis, Calif., said her dog Leah went missing for a day six months ago, and when she returned, she wasn’t the same, Fox 40 reported.
"She had a gash in her face," Cole told the news station. "She was recovering nicely, but then on the third day she had a very devastating deterioration in her condition, and she was unable to walk at that point."
Cole and Leah’s veterinarian aren’t sure what happened to the pooch, but they speculated she endured trauma either from a car accident or a deer kicking her in the head.
"Something happened because the bone was broken and totally pulled off the back of the head, so there was some major trauma to do that,” Dr. Karen Vernau, chief of neurological surgery at the animal hospital, told Fox 40. “It just didn't slip out on its own."
"Most times when this happens, the animal or person dies," said Vernau, who explained Leah’s spinal column also detached from the back of her head.
To try to repair the damage, Vernau and her team needed to rejoin the bones, and relieve compression on the dog’s brain and spinal cord.
The surgery worked: After the operation, Leah could once again wag her tail and move her legs. A rehabilitation regimen including acupuncture and water treadmill therapy helped revive her so she could eventually return home.
"She has resumed pretty much her old lifestyle," Cole told Fox 40, "you know, digging in bushes for squirrels.”
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