Petco has my sick guinea pig

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Post   » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:11 pm

I am new to the guinea pig world, and recently bought a baby cavy from Petco (I now know that wasn't the only option and will definitely turn towards adoption in the future). After about 2 weeks, she started developing a persistent sneeze, and I noticed some crustiness around her eyes. I called Petco and they told me that I had to bring her in and they would take her to the vet for evaluation. I brought her in on a Saturday (3/3), and was told that they would take her to the vet on Monday and call me. By Wednesday, I hadn't heard back so I called the store, and the store manager told me that she had a URI, and had to stay at the store and be administered antibiotics until 3/17. The manager called me two days ago and said that the antibiotics weren't working so they switched her to a different type, and now she has to stay for another 11 days. I am feeling very uneasy about the entire situation, and was wondering if anyone had any experience or could provide insight as to whether this is standard procedure. Thanks in advance!!!

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:54 pm

It's definitely standard procedure for both PetCo and PetSmart to keep the pig. Usually they buy the pig back from you, and if it survives their sometimes-dodgy treatment, you can buy it back.

I'm sorry you've learned the hard way about pet store purchases. Illness isn't the only likely problem -- parasites, mis-sexed animals, and pregnant baby sows are also very common.

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Post   » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:48 am

Did they buy her back from you, or do you still have ownership?  If you still own her, you have the right to demand her back and take her to your own vet.  If you are able to do this, check with the people here for a vet recommendation, because you wouldn't want to end up taking her to someplace worse than Petco's vet.  

This happened to me a long time ago.  I got my pig back from them and took him to my own vet, then presented them with the bill.  They weren't very happy about it, but my pig did get cured and they did pay.  Even if they don't pay you back, it would be worth it to get your pig treated properly.  How can they care for her when there is no one there overnight?  I also doubt they are giving her fresh greens or hand feeding around the clock.  Make a fuss and get her back.


Post   » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:37 am

Thanks for the information. They did buy her back, as they told me that they can't take her to the vet unless they buy her back first. One of the reasons I am suspicious is that when I took her in on that Saturday, they told me that she probably had a URI, and that they would take her to the vet on Monday, she would likely be put on antibiotics, and then they would call me to come pick her up. When I called on Wednesday, the first person I spoke with told me I need to bring my sick cavy in to get vet treatment. I told them that I already brought her in and was just following up. Then they transferred me to the manager, who told me about the antibiotics treatment and said they would call when I could come pick her up. I got another call this past week which is when they informed me that I couldn't get her for another 11 days because the first medicine didn't work so they are switching to a different one.

Some of my friends think that they accidentally resold her, not realizing that she wasn't just a regular return, and are stalling to try and find a replacement piggy. She is pretty unique looking, Abyssinian with white and gray fur, so it isn't like they can just pass off a short-haired brown one and call it day. I am going to go to the store tomorrow (it is about 45 mins away, and with work during the week and the kids school schedule, I haven't had a chance to get over there). Fingers crossed!

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Post   » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:23 pm

Let us know if your guinea pig is still there and is responding to treatment.


Post   » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:40 pm

Yes. We went through as well. Live an learn for sure. We purchased three young males from Petco. We were told they would cover vet care if we went to their vet. So we did. But meds were necessary for all three even after the 30 guarentee. So, I called corporate. I was refunded any bills past the date up until the day I called. However, any other necessary care and they would have to be brought in for treatment in the store. My reaction was, absolutely not. Mostly because we have been babying them with love, care, and treatment for the last 2 months and I didn’t trust petco. I felt like they were just tired of paying the vet bills. Over $500 worth. Ours also had URI that turned to phemonia. They were very sick. One still is. He won’t gain weight and keep it on. The animals that come from these big chain stores do not come from good and healthy environments. I did some research on where they get their animals and the results were disturbing and heart breaking. Petco should have given the option of allowing you to take your pet to their chosen vet and care for him at home. Also, you should have the right to visit you piggievin the store any time you want.

I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way, like us. We will definitely do it differently the next time.



Post   » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:48 pm

Hi Jessica! So sorry to hear that you had to go through that nightmare. I hope that your remaining sick one gets better soon, and it sounds like you definitely did the right thing by going with your gut.

I went Petco today and asked to see her, and after they went back to get her, they came back and informed me that SHE was in fact a HE, and asked if he had been housed with females. I have been looking into adopting a companion after some research about how social they are, but luckily had not yet gotten to that point. I checked and double checked when I purchased him, as well as dropped him off for the sick visit, and was assured both times that the guinea pig was female. The explanation today was that now that he is older, it is very obvious that he has male parts. I couldn't believe that they sold him to me as a female, and even said if I decided to get a companion, make sure to get a female! I can only imagine how that might have turned out.

They told me that he has a mild URI, and is responding to the new meds, but they can't release him until he is better. Fingers crossed that there are no more surprises, and we will hopefully have him home with us before the end of the month. Thanks everyone for your helpful input.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:51 pm

The dangers of trusting pet store employees to sex an animal.....


Post   » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:57 pm

I really can't believe how unconcerned they seemed about telling me the wrong sex the first two times. At this point, I still don't know if I should trust that he really is a he. I guess I will have to take him to a vet to verify the sex, although I have read that even vets can have trouble discerning unless they are specialized in small animals such as guineas.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:52 pm

Usually by the time a guinea pig is 3-4 weeks old, the sex is pretty apparent. But just as in humans, pigs can have ambiguous genitalia. And no, don't trust them. Pet store employees get much less than adequate training on guinea pig care/feeding/whatever, and their main purpose is to sell items from the store, not tell you how to care for your pig.

The acid test of a boar is whether you can feel the penis bone just above the genitals, and if you press on it, the penis should extrude. When you get him back, see for more than you ever wanted to know about pig private parts.

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