‘Our 16 pet rats have to be quarantined’: Owners call for better health checks by Pets at Home

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 25, 2017 in Rat News | Subscribe

A COUPLE who have adopted 16 rats are calling for pet stores to carry out better health checks after opting to put their animals into quarantine.

Charlotte Bailey and her partner Nicky Story have dedicated the last three months to caring for their pet rats they either bought or adopted from Pets at Home, in Cowdray Avenue.

However she says nearly all have fallen ill within the first 24 hours of being at the couple’s home, in Churchill Way, Colchester.

They have taken the rats back to the vets at Pets at Home to be treated for ringworm, mites and even tumours.

Miss Bailey said: “We started off with two and after 24 hours they had breathing problems, so we took them to the vets and they were given antibiotics.”

From then on, the couple say almost every rat fell ill. Some of her rats have since been treated for mites, stomach cancer, and ringworm.

She said: “When the two with ringworm were introduced to the others they all got ringworm.

“It’s heartbreaking as we just want to give them a home.”

They have had to separate the rats into a number of different cages to prevent any infection or illness spreading. Last week she took one of her rats, Tyrion, back to the store as he had an eye infection, and was not happy with the service.

Miss Bailey said: “It’s one thing after another and I dread to think how much we have spent on tests.

The rats should be kept in quarantine at the shop.

“There has been a couple of occasions where the vets there have helped us but we wouldn’t have to keep doing this if they did proper checks.

“I have been spending five hours a day building bonds with them, it really upset me as I am going through heartache and stress with them.”

A spokesman for Pets at Home said: “We believe that every pet should enjoy a happy, safe and healthy life so we were sorry to learn of so many pet rats becoming unwell in this customer’s care. 

“We keep detailed electronic records of every pet that leaves our store.  From these we follow up with new pet owners to make sure their pet is settling in to their new home. 

“If there are reports of illness we have experts who can investigate thoroughly and take action accordingly.  Having checked our records we have found nothing that would indicate a problem with the health of our pet rats.

“Our pets come only from breeders who are carefully selected and audited to ensure they meet our strict code of practice. 

“Pets are health checked before they leave the breeder and are brought to our stores in our own fleet of climate-controlled vans. 

“On arrival they are kept in a quiet room for a specified number of days to allow them time to settle into their new environment.  Here, their condition is carefully monitored before they are moved into the store for sale. 

“We have a fully equipped veterinary practice in our store in Colchester.  If we suspect any of our pets may be under the weather we will always seek veterinary advice and follow their recommendations for treatment – irrespective of cost.  We provide exactly the same care for any pets that are offered for adoption.”

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