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I'm Stacey Dooley, and I just love animals,
so it makes me super sad to see them poorly.
But when they are, they can come to places like this where awesome
vets will make them better.
Meet passionate pet lover Cheryl.
And that is how she broke it in the first place.
The biggest softie of them all, gentle James.
Come on, come for a little swim.
The vet who talks to the animals, Cat.
I'm a snorty pig.
Oh, no, don't eat the tape measure.
And the one with all the best moves - Rory.
Look at that. Oh, wow, that was a snog.
They are the vets with The Pets Factor.
Coming up on today's show...
James throws a party for Derek the puppy...
I can't quite get my head around the fact that he's already so big!
..the gentle giant who just wants to fit in.
Cheryl treats a tiny hamster...
He's so cute! He doesn't bite.
..with a big problem.
And vet Cat needs to check over a snake who's a bit snappy.
Apparently, if it does bite me, it won't hurt.
I'd sort of rather it didn't bite me at all, actually. Yeah.
First, we kick off in Bristol with James.
If there is one thing James loves about his job,
it's his daily dose of puppy love.
-Oh, he's so sweet, isn't he? He's gorgeous.
I just can't resist them -
the big eyes, soft little bellies, what is not to love?
Sometimes they are tiny.
Oh, look. Do you want a new home? You want to come and live with me?
Other times, they are anything but.
Like Derek, the nine-week-old puppy.
Yep, that's right, he's a puppy.
What is Derek coming in for today, do you know?
For his vaccination.
Derek is what's called a blue great Dane,
the tallest breed in the world.
But he's not really blue, that would be silly.
It's more of a bluey grey.
And this big pup likes to get into big mischief.
He's very naughty sometimes.
Sometimes he wees and poos on the wood.
And he just did a wee.
Derek loves to play with his owners, Carys and Ethan.
He'll chase after you.
And when he runs, his ears flop up, and it's adorable.
He's already as big as a fully grown spaniel,
and he's totally unaware of his size.
At the moment, he's stuck indoors
until he's had some jabs to stop him getting nasty diseases.
-Hi there. Have you got Derek?
-Come on, Derek.
But the idea of an injection is a little too much
for this big scaredy cat.
Derek, what a cutie.
He is a big lad, but he's not the bravest.
But with a little encouragement from Dad, he's soon settled down.
So, right, what we need to do today is obviously
we have a really good check over - we want to listen to his heart,
we want to make sure that everything is growing and developing as normal.
And then once we've done that,
we're then going to give him the vaccination.
Shall we start with his head and we'll work our way back?
If Derek's owners copy the basic things I've done
in the surgery at home, he probably won't struggle the next time
I handle him, which is good because one day he will be huge.
So, you know, get used to looking in his mouth and/or his paws,
and his ears, and just have a really good kind of check over every day.
Do this at home.
Just pretend you're at the vet's and give him a good check over, OK?
He seems pretty chilled, but the real test is still to come.
It's vaccination time.
So what we're going to do is, when I give you the word,
if you could put the treats in front of him so he's more
interested in your treats than he is in my vaccination, OK?
Then hopefully, he won't even notice that I'm giving him this.
See if he wants to take your treats.
There we go. And if you could just...hold him.
There we go. All done!
Look at that, he didn't even notice.
-Can he start socialising with other dogs?
So a week after today, he has got enough immunity
that he can then start to meet other dogs and start playing out, so...
And that's with the fun really begins cos then you can introduce
him to your friends' dogs and you can start to have puppy parties.
-Did you say puppy party?
-I did, I did say puppy parties.
Now, they are really cool.
What we tend to do is we get all of the puppies in the practice
to come into one room, and we let them all go,
and they all just socialise and have fun and have one big...
It is just one big party.
Sounds amazing, and it sounds like Derek might be the star of the show.
I'm looking forward for Derek to go to the puppy party,
as I think he'll make lots of new friends.
-Come on, big man.
Time to visit Cheryl in Essex.
Super smiley vet Cheryl sees more than her fair share
of teenie-weenie pets.
I think you're going to be OK, Gaza.
I see a lot of tiny animals, but I don't mind, I love them.
But today, Cheryl might have her tiniest patient to date.
This is Gilbert. Hi, Gilbert!
Gilbert is so small, you have to look hard to find him.
This pocket-size pet is a Russian dwarf hamster.
And when he isn't RUSSIAN around,
he's usually shovelling grub into his cheeky little chops.
But lately, this little guy has developed a big problem
on his jaw, so he's wheelie keen to see vet Cheryl.
He's so cute. He doesn't bite.
Look, he is genuinely the nicest...
Look at you.
Aw. This little lump's just grown on his side
in the past three weeks and now it is kind of uncomfortable,
so we're going to try and remove it.
The lump is growing fast.
Gilbert is going to need emergency surgery.
It's quite risky and quite a big surgery
for such a tiny little hamster.
And if we don't do something,
he'll probably have to be put to sleep.
Because Gilbert is so tiny,
he can't be injected with a measured anaesthetic like a dog or a cat.
So the best option for Cheryl and Nurse Nick is to place him
inside a dog's facemask and fill it with anaesthetic gas.
I'm sorry, mate. It's for your own good. It's OK.
He doesn't know what's going on,
but this really is the safest way to get him under anaesthetic.
Now Gilbert is in dreamland,
Nurse Nick has to carefully shave off the fur around the lump,
but it's difficult when the clippers are bigger than the patient.
He is very cute. He is definitely
one of the cutest hamsters we've ever had here.
Gilbert is so friendly.
And I know he's not showing that this lump is bothering him,
but I bet he's in pain.
If this lump was on a human, it would be the size of a football,
a big football.
Cheryl has no time to waste and is ready to cut off that nasty lump.
That is the huge lump, look at it.
If it grew much bigger, then it would be impossible to remove.
I must admit, I'm a little bit nervous.
Gilbert could be one of the smallest pets I've ever operated on.
Even the tiny blood vessels, we have to be careful that they don't
bleed because a little bit of blood is a huge amount for a hamster.
Squawk! If you're squeamish, look away now.
The huge lump is almost off,
but Gilbert is not out of danger yet.
Because we can't control the aesthetic,
we just want to be as quick as possible.
Stay with us as Cheryl needs a steady hand to help Gilbert
through his major surgery.
It's really, really, really hard to stitch the skin
because it's so paper thin.
And it's party time as Derek the great Dane
meets some new friends.
It's organised chaos is what I'm going to say.
Next, we're in Sheffield with vet Cat.
Tauser! Come on in.
She's got bags of experience dealing with all kinds of wild
and wacky pets.
But some days, a job comes in
that takes even this cool and calm vet by surprise.
Guys, you'll never guess what I've got to see later on today.
Four rats and two rat snakes.
Apparently, one of these snakes does like to bite, but luckily,
they have very small teeth and they are not venomous,
so apparently if it does bite me, it won't hurt.
But I'd sort of rather it didn't bite me at all, actually. Yeah.
The owners, Chloe and Jennifer, arrive in reception.
-What have you got there?
Cat won't have to wait long before she finds out.
-We've got Ajax and Anya, the two snakes.
-Four rats in there.
And then how old are your rats? Are they baby rats, big rats?
12 weeks old.
What a combination of pets!
Snakes will happily gobble up a rat for lunch.
And they're such slippery customers!
It would be a total disaster if any of them escaped.
All six pets are booked in today for a health check.
I hope they are well trained.
We've only had the rats for a little while,
so they're not really well handled yet, but they're good.
They're getting there.
But it is Ajax, the naughty snake in the box,
who's worrying them most.
He's really easily stressed out.
I've got a horrible feeling he might bite somebody today.
I'm hoping that he doesn't, but I think that he might, yeah,
cos he likes to be very snappy.
Time to call in the reinforcements.
Ashley, could you come and give me a hand, please?
I think we're going to need an extra pair. Thank you.
Right then, what shall we have a look at first? Rats or snakes?
-What do you think?
-Snakes, otherwise the snakes are going to smell
-the rats on us.
We don't want the snakes to think that we're lunch, do we? No.
First up is the friendly snake, Anya.
Where are you? Where are you?
Oh, look how beautiful you are.
Rat snakes can grow up to a metre in length,
but thankfully, Anya is a tiddler.
So she's got beautiful, shiny scales
and bright, open eyes.
She has got quite a tongue on her!
That's quite a long one.
Next up is the snappy happy Ajax.
And according to Ashley, the signs aren't good.
So because they are bending the head in an S shape,
it's a striking pose,
when they're a bit nervous
and they're not quite sure of the situation.
Everyone, including Ajax, seems a little nervous,
so Jen handles him with care.
Much better than when I first got him.
He'd be attacking your hand. I used to wear gloves, didn't I?
I still do sometimes when I'm getting him out, I put gloves on.
That's OK, cos we don't need to,
cos we can see most things from where we are.
So, see, he can hold his head.
Look at the strength he's got in his neck.
I'm really glad Anya and Ajax are looking so healthy
because that means we can put them away.
Having rattled through the rat snakes, it's time for the rats.
You're a speedy one. Hang on, hang on, hang on, hang on.
-And they are even more slippery than the snakes.
They're better than they were, believe it or not.
Oh, my goodness, oh, my...
Blimey! It's OK. It's OK, it's OK.
These guys are wriggling all over the place, which is
a nightmare for me, but it's great news for them
because it means that they are really healthy.
They're all absolutely fine, totally fine, no concerns there at all.
Job done. It's time for the pets
and their owners to start snaking their way home.
Yeah, I'm talking to you.
Back to Bristol now with vet James and Derek the great Dane.
Now he's growing up, he's had his final vaccination,
so this mischief-loving pup can make some new friends.
So James and Lily are throwing him the best kind of party ever -
a party for puppies.
It sounds like we are going to turn all the lights off,
a big disco ball, puppies with sunglasses on.
We're going to get everybody in who's got puppies at the moment,
and it's a really good way of getting them to socialise,
but more than anything, it's just a chance to have
an afternoon playing with puppies, really.
I love the puppy parties.
We have them every week in the practice,
and they are such a lovely break from all the poorly animals.
Puppies Bertie, Beau and Molly can't wait to get this party started.
And the biggest name on the guest list is about to make his debut.
Believe it or not, Derek is the same age as all the other pups,
and he is already twice their size.
This could be fun!
I can't quite get my head around the fact that he's already so big!
He's already the size of my Lab!
He's huge all right, but he seems to be a hit with his new pals already.
So pleased to see him with the rest of the puppies.
Obviously, we've just got to be careful because his paws
weigh so much, and he weighs a tonne if he treads on one of them.
Derek is such a gentle giant, but he has no idea how big he is.
I reckon those other dogs will tell him
if he plays too rough. He'll soon learn.
If we swap Beau and Derek, and then Molly and Derek, shall we try that?
As well as having a ball, it's also helping him
get used to other people and new environments.
It's all about making sure the puppies realise that
actually coming to the vet's isn't that scary,
so then, as they grow up, they just end up thinking
this is just a great place to come
and they can't wait to get through the door. It's brilliant.
And for these pups, it's just the best fun in the world.
It's organised chaos is what I'm going to say.
It's about them exploring
and learning how to interact with each other,
you know, in a safe environment. And this is exactly what it is.
Who am I kidding? This is absolute chaos!
And after the excitement of the big wide world,
this big lad will certainly sleep tonight.
Excuse me, will you come down, please?
Let's go back to Essex to the Cheryl and Gilbert.
This little guy is having a big operation to get
rid of a nasty growth.
Now it's kind of uncomfortable, so we're going to try and remove it.
Gilbert the Russian dwarf hamster has a huge lump on the side
of his head that has been growing for three weeks.
And now that she's taken off the lump,
Cheryl needs a steady hand to quickly close Gilbert's wound.
It's really, really, really hard to stitch the skin because it's
so paper-thin. So I use the tiniest stitches.
She's done it. But this has been major surgery for this little guy.
The next few minutes are critical.
Please wake up, little hammy.
Come on, Gilbert!
You can do it!
-There we go. Hey!
I'm so glad he's awake.
Now we just have to make sure he recovers well.
Gilbert wakes up to a biscuit the size of his head.
Wonder if he still thinks he's dreaming.
That's it, have a nice bite of that, get your sugar up.
I'm really pleased that Gilbert is alive and eating his cookie,
and I'm copying him.
We're only letting him have that biscuit cos he's had a big
operation, but it really gets your energy levels up.
It's been a really big day for tiny Gilbert, but he's already
looking happier and giving himself a big good post-op clean.
It's time for Gilbert to go home.
I think his owners are really excited to have him back. Yes?
Are you going to be happy to go home?
He's a very, very brave hamster.
Yes, you're going to have that blanket tonight.
He's such a good boy.
Gilbert, the happiest hamster. Aren't you? So cute.
Two days after the operation,
Gilbert and his owners, Jake and Mikey,
have come back to see Cheryl.
Hello, handsome boys. So how did he recover?
I was a bit worried on the first night
-cos he was just really, really quiet, I suppose.
-Yeah, very tired.
By the second day, like yesterday, he was fine, he was back to himself.
He was running around the cage being...
-Being his normal cheeky chap.
-He is officially the nicest hamster...
-Yeah. ..on our books. He really is.
He's so friendly, he doesn't bite even when he's in pain...
Oh, are you nipping on my finger to prove me wrong?
Yeah, you shouldn't say that.
-His wound looks amazing.
-Yeah, he keeps trying to scratch it.
Scratching is OK, but chewing isn't,
because then he can pull the stitches out.
And even though it looks amazing now,
it will take ten to 14 days to heal.
-So, so far, so good.
Oh! I just can't cope with how cute Gilbert is.
Do you like me? Yes.
-He's, like, so small and so brave.
-Yeah, I know.
Hopefully, his hair will grow back and he'll be good as new.
So thank you for your help.
-No worries. It's a dodgy haircut he's got, isn't it?
Hey. Gilbert, what a cute little hamster.
And you're a little cutie too, aren't you? Hello.
But I do know someone who isn't so little - Derek the great Dane.
Three months later, he's still growing.
And he's full of energy.
Derek has become a big part of the family.
A really big part of the family.
Bigger and bigger every day, isn't he?
And his size means if he doesn't want to do something,
it's tricky to make him.
Shall we measure him, see how big he is?
So who knows exactly how big he is, let's just call him extra,
extra, extra large and leave it at that.
Next time on The Pets Factor...
Cheryl operates on an abandoned kitten in need of a home.
Hello, Trinity. Isn't she cute?
And James gets training with some potential canine champions.
Cor, my heart's really going, I really feel... I'm feeling
the pressure that I've got to achieve.