It’s just another day at the practice for delightful nine-month-old Cockapoo Betsy, who’s become one of the family while receiving treatment for multiple injuries she sustained after being hit by a van five months ago.
Now mum and dad, Sophie and Dan, consult Noel about Betsy’s dragging front paw caused by nerve damage, to see whether there may be surgical options.
Yet, events overtake them when Betsy develops gangrene and has to have her paw amputated. However, there is the option to salvage the rest of her limb by replacing her amputated foot with a skeletally anchored implant, called a PerFiTS (Percutaneous Fixation To the Skeleton). Noel developed this system for over a decade and is the only surgeon in the world currently using it in patients.
As well as careful consideration of ethical factors with a review process, Noel warns that there are no guarantees of a successful outcome when it comes to fitting a bionic foot, not least because of post-surgery risk of infection.
“When the engineering and surgery have all gone to plan and yet biology doesn’t smile, it’s utterly devastating,” says Noel.