Edith is an enthusiastic four-year-old springer spaniel and sock stealer extraordinaire, and at first sight seems unfazed when mums Val and Tara arrive with her at Fitzpatricks.

The Problem

Edith hurt her back two years ago and despite no definitive diagnosis from numerous other vets, Val and Tara are convinced she is masking a problem and their hunch is backed up when they see a change in her behaviour, and the start of self-harming. With the aid of a unique mechanism of performing dynamic MRI scans which Noel developed, the team at Fitzpatricks can mimic the position of her lower back when she is in a jumping position, which reveals the cause of the problem: a bulging disc is compressing nerve roots in Edith’s spine and causing significant sciatic nerve pain. This is a condition called dynamic lumbo-sacral degenerative stenosis.


After lengthy consideration, Val and Tara decide to opt for surgery which will require extreme skill to navigate between very small nerves and blood vessels to reach and excavate the bulging disc. Insert one of Noel’s hugely successful inventions, a Christmas tree-shaped spacer screw opens up the disc space between the vertebrae at the lumbosacral junction. These vertebrae are then stabilised using customised screws, clamps and rods so that they fuse relative to each other, keeping the holes for the nerves (neuroforaminae) open. Then dynamic movement, like jumping, can’t compress the nerves any more.

Now Val and Tara have an anxious wait to find out whether Edith may be finally free from pain.