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, Noel faces challenges in all shapes and sizes. Rob and Mark already know that their beloved seven-year-old chocolate Labrador, Inca, has a history of developmental elbow disease and osteoarthritis of her elbow joints, which first began when she was six months old. By the age of two, she was in constant pain and almost unable to walk. Despite this, she has provided loving support for Rob, who has a neurological condition. Noel has performed surgery on Inca’s front legs before, but because of her rapidly deteriorating osteoarthritis and collapsed elbow joint, the implants have worn out over time. Noel considers a more advanced and very complex procedure – a total elbow replacement. Diminutive diva and anxious two-year-old Cavapoo Nala arrives at Fitzpatrick’s with doting mum and dad Ina and Paul, referred by their local vet in the hope that she can be given a hip replacement. At only ten months, she developed a slight limp of her right back leg, caused by hip dysplasia, which has now culminated in extreme stiffness and pain and rendered her almost unable to walk. Two-year-old Great Dane Charles has a big personality to match his enormous frame – he stands six feet high on his hind legs. But six months ago, Vicky and Steve noticed he was becoming unsteady, and their vet diagnosed ‘wobblers disease’ – a condition where the spinal cord in the neck of larger breed dogs is compressed. Charles’ malformed vertebrae are squashing his spinal cord at six separate sites in his neck. Noel has developed a continuous spinal fusion system with special intervertebral spacers and in Charles’ case, this will involve fusing his entire neck. Vicky and Steve are pinning all their hopes on spinal surgery for Charles, which Steve knows only too well is a hugely serious undertaking, as he himself had multiple surgeries following a bike accident a decade earlier. ‘This is such a massive surgery it would need to be a life or death procedure,’ Noel explains, ‘the reason we have been so reticent to do this, is he could die. That’s the bottom line. Something could go wrong… but you’re between a rock and a hard place now.
The Supervet: Noel Fitzpatrick – Thursday 8pm on Channel 4