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susieice

Petco Being Sued For Boy's Death

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Apparently last summer, a 10 yr old boy and his grandmother bought a pet rat at a Petco in San Diego. The rat was infected with disease and the boy died of Rat Bite Fever. I never heard of this before, but the child died 48 hours after showing the symptoms, which his doctor diagnosed as the flu. This is just a sad story.

http://abcnews.go.co...rat-bite-fever/

http://www.cdc.gov/rat-bite-fever/

Edited by susieice
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the doctor is an idiot, i hope they sue him. he knew the kid was bitten by a rat, should have look farther knowing that.

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Was the boy actually bitten by the rat? I've seen several stories on this now and some say yes and some say no.

Having had both rats and mice and having experienced bites from both, I can tell you now that rat bites are no small thing. They are painful and sometimes need stitches. When I was bitten in the thumb by a rat once, I went to Emergency the next morning because my thumb swelled to three times its size. I was given antibiotics and recovered with no problem. If the boy was bitten by a rat, his parents should have immediately taken him to a doctor (and I should have gone in the night I was bitten). That's a no brainer any time your child is bitten by an animal, pet or otherwise. If the doctor does know the boy was bitten, antibiotics should have been the first thing given even without any symptoms. I am the first person to scream about treating with antibiotics without a diagnosis, but these cases involving animal bites and scratches are exceptions to the rule.

BUT - and this is a big but - rat bite fever isn't that well known in the medical community, nor its treatment, and if the boy wasn't actually bitten, you couldn't expect his parents to know or the doctor to think this was anything but the flu.

Rat Bite Fever is spread through rat urine and may be picked up by anything the rat has chewed on, like a block of wood. From what I understand, most wild rats and approximately 50% of tame rats carry this disease. I found out about it when a couple rats found their way inside my home once and attacked my mice (mice and rats are natural enemies). Although I only lost two mice to the actual attack, I began to notice something strange with the remaining mice: a joint would swell up somwhere on one mouse, a toe would swell on another, a hock or a tail joint right in the middle of the tail. My vet finally asked if we could send a mouse to UC Davis and I sacrificed one. The result came back as Rat Bite Fever. As an aside, I have no idea why this went to the CDC. UC Davis is supreme when it comes to animals and they had the result back in about 4 to 6 weeks.

At any rate, antibiotics were dispensed to my other mice and I had no more trouble (after a THOROUGH cleaning of my entire house with bleach). I very much doubt you could blame Petco for this. Since rats carry tho disease with no detrimental effects to themselves, a rat with this disease would be difficult to spot. Testing every rat that comes into the store is difficult, expensive, and time consuming. In addition, buying any pet from a store like Petco or Petsmart is just asking for trouble in the first place. It's like buying puppies from a pet store. You have no idea where they've come from or what they're carrying. Most cities have a rat and/or mouse club where the members raise their rats for show, health, and companionship. This is the place to get your pet rats.

Edited by rodentraiser
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I'm just going to go ahead and say that not all animals should be considered 'pet candidates'.

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I'm just going to go ahead and say that not all animals should be considered 'pet candidates'.

I have to say that's what I was thinking too. I remember when I was a kid having pet turtles, which were later banned from being sold because they carried disease. Now that I see that it was posted that 50% of tame rats are carrying this one, maybe selling them should be reconsidered. At least in pet stores. Making sure an animal is checked out by a vet right after purchase is probably a good idea too. This makes me wonder what diseases other small animals may carry.

I never heard of this disease until now. Nor did I see that the doctor was told that the boy was bitten. If he was, then the family should have told the doctor that when they took him to the office.

As for the CDC getting involved, there are a lot of wild rats in the US and everywhere else. This disease can be transmitted to just about anyone who comes in contact with a rat that was infected, and it sounds like the odds may be pretty high. They would keep track of something like this.

Edited by susieice

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Very sad story. Condolences to the boys family and friends.

Never heard about this disease. When my son was younger he used to have rat pets.

We all cared for them and I remember we all got bitten every once in a while. But never thinking it could actually hurt us besides having some little

puncture marks in our thumbs or fingers. I guess we were lucky.

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Personally, I think rats make great pets. I'd have them now except we're not allowed any pets where Iive. Any animal has the potential to pass on harmful diseases to humans. Cows can have TB (which is why I won't drink unpasteurized milk). Cat scratches can give you septicemia. You can pick up leptospirosis from unvaccinated dogs. And you can also break your neck or your back when thrown from a horse. Nothing is without risk in this life.

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And oh, yeah, you guys didn't ask, but I'll put it here anyway: http://www.afrma.org/fancyrm.htm

There's an awful lot of people involved in the rat business and they aren't getting sick. By the way, World Rat Day is April 4th. Seriously!

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Personally, I think rats make great pets. I'd have them now except we're not allowed any pets where Iive. Any animal has the potential to pass on harmful diseases to humans. Cows can have TB (which is why I won't drink unpasteurized milk). Cat scratches can give you septicemia. You can pick up leptospirosis from unvaccinated dogs. And you can also break your neck or your back when thrown from a horse. Nothing is without risk in this life.

You are correct on the any animal can pass disease on... I got bit on the hand by our house cat while giving it a bath and got a nasty staph infection from it. Had a real pretty red stripe running up my arm, though. hehe

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Rut Roh, that IS a pretty nasty infection!

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Sue the doc and petco

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