WALTER the swan underwent lifesaving surgery after suffering a broken leg when it is believed he was struck by a vehicle on the M62 motorway near Wakefield.
A member of the public called West Yorkshire Police after spotting the distressed bird at the side of the M62.
Officers caught the bird and took it to Chantry Vets, in Alverthorpe, Wakefield.
On initial examination vets discovered a fish hook stuck in his neck, a common injury for swans.
It wasn’t until an X-ray was taken that a significant fracture to the swan’s right leg was revealed, believed to have been caused when the bird was struck by a vehicle.
Lisa Flood, surgical director at Chantry Vets, called the Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital for advice on surgery procedure.
The swan, who is aged around three-years-old and was named Walter by the vets, went into surgery under general anaesthetic.
A pin was placed in the centre of his broken bone and a locking plate fixed to the femur.
Lisa Flood said: “This was an unusual case for us so we had to get all the help we could to make sure the break was fixed as soon as possible, and our thanks go to the support of Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital.
“Swans are large birds so our nursing team had to monitor the anaesthetic carefully so we could carry out the operation.
“Once he was out of surgery we made him a special recovery room so he could be kept in overnight.
“He was a little fractious when he first came to us, but once he was quite at home once he was settled in his bed.
“The team did really well. We have seen smaller birds and more unusual animals and reptiles like snakes here before, but a swan was definitely a new challenge.”
Lisa Flood was supported in the operation by senior veterinary surgeon Dr Tom Giorgi, a certificate holder in exotic animals.
Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital, in Barlow, Selby, the only dedicated full-time swan sanctuary based in northern England, collected Walter the next day and praised Chantry Vets for the team’s efforts in treating the injured bird.
A spokesman for the hospital said: “We would like to give our special thanks to the officers from West Yorkshire Police for rescuing the swan, and to the veterinary team at Chantry Vets for their hard work and efforts in treating this injured bird.”
The swan is now walking and is expected to make a full recovery.