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I'm Stacey Dooley and I love animals of all shapes and sizes
but sometimes, just like us, our furry friends get sick.
Thankfully, when that does happen, there are amazing vets on hand to
help fix them up.
Meet passionate pet-lover, Cheryl.
And that is how she broke it in the first place!
The biggest softie of them all, gentle James.
Hello, Stu. Go on, come for a little swim.
The vet who talks to the animals, Cat.
You are a snorty pig!
No, don't eat the tape measure.
And the one with all the best moves, Rory.
Oh, look at that. Oh, wow, that was a snog!
They're the vets with the Pets Factor.
Coming up on today's show:
James investigates why Honey's putting on weight.
One thing that we can do is do an ultrasound scan of her tummy.
But I don't know what I'm going to find.
Cheryl's on a home visit to do a doggie checkup.
Hi, Fifi! Fifi really wants a health check.
And the pressure is on for Rory
to help a dog with an appetite for pebbles.
He's going to have some serious surgery now to get those out.
First, we kick off in Bristol with James.
Wow! Who have we got here?
James gets to meet some weird and wonderful animals.
He is fab!
It's organised chaos, is what I'm going to say.
But even for an experienced vet like James...
Gosh, who've we got here?
..a triple whammy of two guinea pigs and a tortoise is a first.
At home, Honey and Fudge love each other so much they share everything.
Even their food.
But Ella and her brother Jacob are a bit more competitive.
My pet's the best because when he's in the air he tries to swim.
My pet's the best because she can eat all the leftover vegetables.
Mmm, very talented.
How about a race to decide?
Surely the rodent will run rings around the tortoise.
3, 2, 1.
It's an extremely slow start for both competitors.
But Speedy has taken a surprise early lead.
Honey is rooted to the spot, she's like a guinea pig in the headlights.
it's Speedy over the line!
I think we have a winner!
So clearly he is Speedy by name and speedy by nature.
Well, it's back to reality for these guys.
Time to see vet James.
I have to say, it's not everyday you see a tortoise and some guinea pigs.
This is possibly the best morning you can have.
First up, Speedy.
He's come to have his toenails trimmed.
So I'm not going to take a huge amount off, so don't be surprised if
I only take the tips off.
As you kind of get more confident with him, you may find
that you're happy to do this at home, which is fine, you know?
And we can teach you how to do it.
And Speedy seems perfectly happy practising his front crawl.
There you go! Right!
Next in line is Honey.
And the family are worried because she's been rapidly piling on weight.
How long have you noticed that for?
Last week maybe she's been a bit...
-Bit more maybe.
-A bit bigger, yeah.
Being a bit podgy might not seem like a big deal, but sometimes it
can be the sign of a serious underlying health problem.
But one thing that we can do is do an ultrasound scan of her tummy and
have a little look to see whether we've got any reason why we've got
that swelling there. But I don't know what I'm going to find.
It's an anxious time for everyone.
Here we go.
But Honey won't be on her own.
She's got her bezzy mate Fudge to keep her company.
Come on, big man!
Let's head to London to see Rory.
Perfect, they're beautiful.
His favourite part of the job is treating cute puppies.
However, they do have a tendency to chew EVERYTHING!
You eat that, that's perfect.
Chewing things might be a great way to explore their world, but eating
something he shouldn't have has landed Rory's next patient in a bit
-Who've you got here?
He's come to see Rory.
Like most young dogs, nine-month-old Rufus likes something to chew on.
But squeaky toys are not his thing.
He has far more adventurous tastes.
But just as you shouldn't play with your food...
..neither should you eat your toys.
And it now seems that Rufus has put on a couple of stones.
Trouble. How you doing?
Come on through.
So, vomiting every night, a few times?
Last night from when I got him home and then one time and then once this
-OK. So, basically, today, go in and get them out.
I don't know why he thinks stones are so delicious, but the longer
they're inside him, the more trouble they can cause.
I'll look after him, don't you worry.
I'll be on the phone.
That's really horrible because it's the first time that we've been
separated since I've had him.
He's always with me.
So, yeah, it's quite difficult.
# Don't leave
# Shut your mind off and let your heart breathe... #
Stones can be a really tricky one. Because they're smooth,
they can actually move quite far through Rufus's guts.
But as they go, they cause a lot of damage.
# I won't trade this for nothing... #
A quick injection and it's off to dreamland for Rufus.
Now he's under anaesthetic, we're going to do an X-ray
and then into theatre.
# Love you better than me. #
His pebble-eating habit has landed him in a bit of bother and he's
going to have some serious surgery now to get those out.
The pressure's really on for Rory.
Time to get going.
Are you ready, Rory?
I am super ready.
And Rory always follows his strict dress code.
Shoes off, funky socks today.
As far as I'm concerned, when the surgeon's gown goes on,
the shoes come off.
OK, so, let's get these stones out.
Join us later on the hunt for the missing pebbles.
I'm getting a little bit concerned that I'm struggling
to find the stone.
And Cheryl's mum is in a bit of bother.
Have you started brushing his teeth?
Let's get back to Bristol with James and Honey the guinea pig.
The family have noticed Honey's expanding waistline.
Come on, Honey.
So James wants to do an ultrasound to check her internal organs.
Right, let's just turn these lights off.
If there's a problem somewhere,
you sometimes get some fluid leaking out and that separates all
your organs out and they kind of look like they're floating around in
a swimming pool and that is when we have a bit of a clue that there
might be something not very good in there. So let's have a look.
Right, so there we've got our liver.
I know, I know, it's OK.
I know, good girl, good girl.
Doing an ultrasound on small, wriggly animals is tricky
because you can't always see everything clearly.
But to investigate further would mean risky surgery.
Actually, looking at this, I would say this might be quite good news.
Could you just hit the lights please, George? Thank you.
I think she might just be a little bit of a porky piggy here!
It might just be that she's got a good appetite.
James wants Honey to go on a diet to see if that gets her
back into shape.
OK, right, so the good news is that we don't need to worry about going
for surgery. The diagnosis that we're kind of going with is the fact
that I think she's just a little bit overweight,
I'm afraid to say! But at this stage, I don't want to do any more
tests, I don't want to talk about surgery, anything like that,
we just need to bring her food back a little bit and wait and see.
Animals can't talk to us and tell us how they're feeling and, in small
pets particularly, things can take a turn for the worse really quickly.
You have to keep checking them.
All right, nice to see you, bye-bye.
Fingers crossed, Honey. We'll catch up again with you very soon.
Hey, hey, I'm talking to you!
Next, we're with Cheryl in Essex.
It's the end of a long day at the practice.
Cerys, come on, let's go, let's go, let's go.
And Cheryl is taking her dog Cerys on a family visit.
Come on, girlie girl!
I work a lot of hours at the practice but I try to take some time
out to go and visit my family whenever possible.
Cheryl's mum Gillian lives nearby.
-Hi, guys! Hiya!
-How are you?
Do you want something to drink, Chel?
-What do you want?
-Cup of tea?
-Yes, please, thanks.
And, of course, having a daughter as a vet means free
doggie health checks.
Are you a good girl, Fif? Are you a good dog?
It was always my ambition for one of my children to become a vet.
-And it's fantastic for us to have a vet in the family.
Hachiko and Fifi, the Pomeranians, and Churchill the Cavalier
are all regular patients for Cheryl.
Hachi, you've got to have a vet check, OK?
-How's he doing?
-Yeah, he seems to be all right.
One-year-old Hachiko is Gillian's little baby.
Have you started brushing his teeth?
Mum, you need to practise brushing his teeth, you know, you really do.
Even though I am a grown-up, and a qualified vet,
my mum STILL doesn't listen to me!
Aren't you lucky you've got such a good vet?
Next it's Fifi's turn.
She's volunteering herself.
Fifi really wants a health check.
-Run free! Good boy!
What beautiful teeth you have! Yeah.
Good girl! There's nothing wrong with you, you're the healthy dog,
Last but not least, it's time for old boy Churchill, the Cavalier.
Come on, Hilly.
He's 12 and is not as strong on his feet nowadays,
but mum Gillian still loves taking him on walking holidays.
So, what, are you saying he can't go ever on holiday again?
It's not that he can't go on holiday, he's not young any more,
-it's sad but he...
He can't be doing those big walks.
It would be like taking someone with a hip replacement to climb
Mount Snowdon or something. Do a different type of holiday.
They like the Lake District and so do I!
The Lake District?!
That's full of hills! I think she needs to start taking them somewhere
nice and flat, like maybe Norfolk.
-Health checks done...
-..time for some fun.
Oh, Hachi! Other paw.
And these dogs certainly know how to show their gratitude.
Oh! Good boy!
Excuse me, will you come down, please?
Back to London to join Rory and Rufus.
This nine-month-old puppy is having major surgery.
Rufus doesn't bother with the usual doggie chew toys.
He's got much more adventurous tastes.
But now he's swallowed something he shouldn't have and he's put on a
couple of stones.
Rory has cut open Rufus's belly to search for them.
And it doesn't take long to find the first one.
SQUARK! If you're squeamish, look away now.
There it is!
But the other stone is playing hide and seek.
Where on earth is...
..that second stone?
The more I'm digging around, the more I'm disrupting the organs and
I don't want to be doing that cos they're already angry because
they've got stones in them.
When you're trying to find something in the intestines,
you've got to carefully feel all the way along.
I'm getting a little bit concerned that I'm struggling to find
I'm not enjoying this so far.
After ten minutes of rooting inside Rufus...
HE EXHALES LOUDLY
..Rory has finally found the second one.
Oh, I was beginning to think that wasn't going to come out.
OK, time to do the brave bits.
After some careful cutting, the stone quite literally pops out.
So that's stone number one.
Leave him over there.
Time for number two.
Wow, they're big stones for a small dog.
Two stones out.
-I got the stones out the dog,
I got the stones out the dog, na-na-na!
All right, stitch him up.
And we can get him out of here.
It's such a relief that Rufus is OK and we've got those
two huge stones out of him.
Good job, well done!
Now, we've got to work out how to stop him eating any more.
While Rory - ahem - inspects the trouble-causing stones...
..nurse Jane beds Rufus down.
And when he wakes up, he's going to be feeling a whole lot better,
as well as a few stones lighter.
# I need somebody who can love me like that. #
Time to get back to Bristol with James and Honey the guinea pig.
James has put Honey on a diet to try and tackle
her rapidly expanding waistline.
-Hi, there. How are you doing?
Three weeks later, Honey and her family are back.
Right, come on through.
But instead of losing weight, she seems to be getting bigger.
So she's actually gone up slightly.
And more worryingly, she seems uncomfortable.
I was just holding her earlier and she just kept squeaking when she was
breathing and a little squeak would come out of her.
Yesterday she just laid by her food bowl most of the day.
She didn't really move.
I'm just wondering whether I can feel a little lump in her tummy.
When she was in for a scan, I had a really good feel and a look around,
we didn't see anything untoward and I couldn't feel anything
at the time.
I think what I might do is just get one of the other vets to feel it as
-Some problems are really hard to diagnose and that's when I'm
so glad that I can call one of the other vets to come and take a second
look. Can you feel a lump there?
-Yeah, yeah, definitely.
-I can definitely feel something
-that shouldn't be there.
She's gained weight as well, which I think is bizarre, the fact that
-she's been getting more...
-I don't think that's normal.
James now has to tell the family that Honey could be seriously ill.
OK, I've just had a little chat with Amy and Katie and I think we can
feel something in there.
This could be something a bit more worrying.
So in terms of a cancerous process possibly.
What we'd like to do before we jump to that conclusion,
we'd quite like to just put the scanner back on and try and get a
bit more of an answer for you.
Wow, look at that now.
Gosh, that's totally different to where we were three weeks ago.
So you can now see we've just got all these loops of black, which
tends to indicate fluid.
With the growth so advanced and Honey starting to suffer,
there's nothing more James can do.
I think, unfortunately...
..this might be the end of the road for little Honey.
-Oh, poor Honey.
-I think it might be time to say goodbye.
-She's really uncomfortable with it as well.
-She is, isn't she?
You're not a happy guinea pig. I'm sorry, Honey.
This is not going to be very easy.
Having to tell owners that their precious pet, who's part of
the family, needs to be put to sleep is the hardest part of the job.
Putting an animal to sleep or letting them go is not an act of
cruelty, it's actually an act of kindness and in Honey's case she was
suffering, so the kindest thing to do was to let her go.
But it doesn't make it any easier.
It'll never get easier, you never...
I think the moment that that becomes just a routine part of the job is
the moment that you should probably hang the stethoscope up.
That was just heartbreaking.
The thing about being a vet is that sometimes you do have to deal
with some sad situations.
But there are also happy outcomes.
Remember Rufus, the dog who ate the stones?
Well, a few hours after surgery...
-Look who's here?
-..he was reunited with his owner.
Look, who's that? There you are, sweetie.
And I'm glad to say that stones are no longer a part of his diet.
That's what he got.
No more of those, please.
Next time on The Pets Factor:
Cat the vet gets up close with some irresistible Cockapoo pups.
Let me have a look at you.
And Cheryl has an emergency on her hands...
A dog with a fractured leg and a foreign body.
..with a dog that's landed in double trouble.
I think this is a first and we haven't had many firsts.