Merida is a six-month-old Rough Collie, diagnosed at twelve weeks with a developmental deformity: the bones in her elbows don’t fit together, which has rendered her unable to walk properly. Mum Gemma has a very special connection with Merida, as she experienced orthopaedic problems as a child and well knows the daily reality of coping with severe bone pain.
After CT scans, Noel sees that the situation is even more complex than at first thought and so needs to discuss other options. He diagnoses Short Ulna Syndrome, bones of the forearm growing at different rates, which could involve prolonged and arduous treatment in order to achieve a functional quality of life for this much-loved young dog.
“There are many people who would say that Merida shouldn’t go through such a prolonged procedure and that euthanasia would be a justifiable option” he says, “but the reality is that we live in a world where surgery and possibility is moving forward all the time. So, our responsibility is to develop an ethical framework for that, and I think that families who love animals deserve that choice.”