The new series following the nation’s favourite vet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, continues, featuring the extraordinary work of his unique veterinary practice where families bring their beloved animals to receive the finest specialist care. In this episode, Professor Noel faces both micro and macro challenges. Some of the most difficult decisions that families face are concerning cancer. Sue and Phil already know that their velvety-brown 10-year-old Dobermann, Rolo, has a confirmed tumour in the humerus bone near his shoulder, resulting in a limp and excruciating pain. At Fitzpatrick’s, CT scans and X-ray images confirm the aggressive bone tumour – an osteosarcoma – which has led to destruction of the bone architecture. One option is a full limb amputation, but another could potentially save Rolo’s leg by cutting out the affected part of the bone and replacing it with a unique implant of Noel’s own invention – a scapula-humeral endoprosthesis. ‘Rolo’s family elected for a big operation even though they knew the cancer would shorten his life,’ says Noel. ‘We go through the ethics process, and together we try to do what’s in his best interests, because it isn’t just about quantity of life, it’s about quality of life.’ An unusual patient is brought to the practice as an emergency by self-confessed ferret fanatics Ben and Melanie. Poor ferret Astrid has broken her leg falling off the sofa while doing a ‘war dance’. The delicate surgery to fix the fracture requires precision on a minuscule scale; one misjudgement could shatter the entire bone. But there’s more jeopardy when the feisty ferret won’t cooperate with the nurses – and later, during the critical days of recovery, the team discover that Astrid is also an escape artist. Ebullient puddle-loving five-year-old Labrador Jeff has been suffering developmental elbow disease, which has caused severe life-long arthritis, and sadly, it can’t be managed by medication alone. His planned surgery for a full elbow replacement had to be delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as an infection. Now the day has finally dawned, but mum Elaine and dad John are horrified to discover that in the interim, Jeff’s condition has deteriorated so much that the elbow replacement is no longer an option. X-ray images reveal an entrenched infection and further bone erosion, which leaves them with a dilemma. Should they opt for a full limb amputation, or surgery to fuse the joint solid? Neither option is without risk.
The Supervet: Noel Fitzpatrick – Thursday 8pm on Channel 4