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  • Ridiculous PetCo experience

    I wanted to post this thread last night, but I was too angry to compose my thoughts in a rational manner. I am still upset with this incident, so please forgive me if I do come across that way.

    Last night, Shalena and I went to the local PetCo to pick up a few new odds and ends for a new addition that we will be receiving next week. As usual, we had to look at the animals in the store before we actually gathered the items that we were going to pick up.

    This is where shopping trip goes down hill.

    As we were looking at the Ball Pythons and Corns, I began to smell what I believed was a dead animal. We walked to the other side of the reptile display and checked were looking at the Garter snakes when I told Shalena that the dead animal smell was getting stronger.

    The Boa tank was a little further down and Shalena beat me to it. As she looked in, she pointed out one Boa specifically and said how bad it looked. I walked over and looked at the boa, agreed that it looked horrible. It looked horrible because it was dead! The way the boa was laying in the tank, it was intermingled between some vines and its head was toward the back of the cage. (Note: The Boa’s head and upper body were lying upside down.) Shalena couldn’t see the Boa’s upper body or she would have realized instantly that it was dead.

    Of course I became angry. It wasn’t the fact that the boa had died that angered me, but the fact that the boa was lying in the cage long enough to produce that stench.

    I walked to the front of the store and, in a not so happy tone of voice, asked the employee how frequently they checked on their animals. She told me that they check their animals at least twice daily. I asked if, during any of their checks, they had noticed the dead Boa Constrictor that was producing the stench. She immediately notified another employee to check the Boa cage.

    The other employee comes over and she tells him about the dead Boa. His reply: “Another one?” Of course that didn’t help decrease my anger level! While we were walking to the Boa cage, the employee tells me that this made their third dead Boa this week. He said that one was found dead in the cage and that another died on its way to the vet.

    As we got to the tank, I had to literally point out which Boa was the dead one. Now, at this point I’m sure that I looked like the good old mercury thermometer. I’m sure you could see my ‘red’ level going up. Shalena stepped back and watched. I would imagine that she was expecting the steam to come shooting out of my ears at any second.

    I asked the guy if the first two dead Boas failed to render a clue that something may be wrong and also asked what the Boas symptoms were. He told me that from what he had seen, the boas were “acting very weird.” He said he had noticed the Boas “flipping backwards” and “rolling over” along with one Boa pushing his face into the substrate with an open mouth causing one employee to remove substrate from the Boa’s mouth on apparently more than one occasion.

    At this point the assistant manager comes around and I explained the symptoms of Inclusion Body Disease (which nobody else in the store had ever heard of). After explaining the neurological symptoms, I asked if any of the Boas had regurgitated their meals. Guess what…. Nobody had a clue when the Boas had last been fed, let alone if any had regurgitated.

    I explained that IBD was a virus that was more than likely already spread to the other boas that were housed with the dead one. I advised them to bag and tag the dead Boa and explicitly list on the tag that the Boa was probably infected with IBD. I also advised them to remove the two other boas from the enclosure and quarantine them. I told them that the responsible thing to do would be to post a notification of the possible IBD exposure and requested that they do so to advise any other customers in case they had purchased an infected animal. His response… if the vet agrees then they will have to post it.

    So, this morning I have printed off some IBD information and am typing a letter to the store’s management. Hopefully they will do the right thing.

    I realize that most employees don’t make a career of working at PetCo, but come on…. Is a little education about the animals that they are keeping in the store to much to ask for? And why would they not get a vet consult bases on the other two Boa’s deaths?

    I’m sure this post is long enough so I’ll end it here. I’m going back to PetCo shortly to deliver the IBD information and my letter and hopefully explain things more thoroughly to the store’s management.
    "An increase in reptile education can lead to a decrease in reptile discrimination." - Bebo

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  • #2
    Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

    Please let us know the outcome of your return trip to PetCo.

    I won't even get started on the pet stores around here--there is only one (privately owned) that has the knowledge to carry snakes and they only occasionally have a ball or corn--they won't even sell any that get bigger since they think most people have no clue on the big snakes.
    http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

    Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest

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    • #3
      Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

      Just hearing about something like this makes me furious. I thought my local pet stores were bad, but I've never seen snakes in there with IBD or a dead snake. These pet stores need to stick to selling pet food because the animals they sell, from gold fish to puppies, are never in the best condition.
      http://www.iherp.com/topshelfmorphs

      http://www.facebook.com/boidsohio

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      • #4
        Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

        If it makes you feel any better, I heard that at the end of the year PetCo will divest themselves of all companion animals. I have found many dead corn snakes at petco, one in particular that was petrified by the time I found it. They have a huge setup in the back that is a wellness center, they use the local vet liberally but the help is usually just there to earn a paycheck.

        Lastly, a lot of breeders sell their wholesale to PetCo. These almost always include animals with IBD, poor feeders, mites, RI, and so on. So you must include them as well if were hating on PetCo.

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        • #5
          Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

          wow thats horrible i work for a petstore and our animals are NEVER anything like that, thankfully.

          btw, if you really want something done about the dead boa, you need to call their corporate office and complain, and make sure you mention all the employees that you spoke with about the boa. when you go in, ask the managers for their corporate #, they HAVE to give it to you, then you need to call and complain, and tell them you wanna know what they are doing about it. when these people have corporate bosses coming down on them they know their jobs could be at risk, thats when they are more likely to do something about the care of their pets.

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          • #6
            Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

            Originally posted by satyra View Post
            wow thats horrible i work for a petstore and our animals are NEVER anything like that, thankfully.

            btw, if you really want something done about the dead boa, you need to call their corporate office and complain, and make sure you mention all the employees that you spoke with about the boa. when you go in, ask the managers for their corporate #, they HAVE to give it to you, then you need to call and complain, and tell them you wanna know what they are doing about it. when these people have corporate bosses coming down on them they know their jobs could be at risk, thats when they are more likely to do something about the care of their pets.
            Bingo, Corporate want play and something WILL happen probably pretty quickly

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            • #7
              Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

              is really all i can say B that is ... wow i dont even know were to start just keep us updated dude this is horrible

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              • #8
                Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                Wow... Just wow...!!

                Keep us updated, Bebo.

                OOC: Is IBD transferable to pythons?

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                • #9
                  Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                  Originally posted by MLynch View Post
                  Wow... Just wow...!!

                  Keep us updated, Bebo.

                  OOC: Is IBD transferable to pythons?
                  Yes, IBD is able to be contracted by pythons. All 'boids' are susceptible to IBD. IBD is transferred by contaminated substances, such as mites, feces, mucous, breeding, etc. From the studies that I have read, it is not a typical airborne type virus and generally is not easily transferred by normal "handling". Also to my understanding, the onset of IBD symptoms are much faster in pythons... specifically the Burmese python.



                  I returned to PetCo yesterday to deliver the information to the manager. I was actually impressed with what he had to say. He told me that as soon as he found out about the infection and what I had said the night before, he began to research IBD. He told me that the snakes were quarantined and also told me the steralization techniques that he had used to clean the cages that the boas had been in. He said that he even went as far as throwing away the decorative items from the cage, which really suprised me.

                  He said that the vet was instructed to 'do what ever it takes' to properly diagnose the problem. I asked if that included a necropsy and he said yes.

                  He also told me that if it is confirmed that the infection is IBD, then the corporation would pull any and all boas that they received from wherever it is that they received the infected boas from.

                  The only problem that I had with what he had to say was with the time frame the boas would be removed from the display caging. He said that PetCo policy states that an animal can only be housed in their back room for a period of 72 hours then has to be returned to the display cages.

                  I explained the potential disaster that this could cause and he assured me that no boa would be sold until the vet's diagnosis was received, but they would be required to house them in the display cages until they received the vet's diagnosis.

                  I'm going to return to the store on Tuesday and see what they have to say. Hopefully the vet will get the results pretty quickly. I will also give the corporate office a call and see what they have to say.
                  "An increase in reptile education can lead to a decrease in reptile discrimination." - Bebo

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                    Originally posted by bebowebb View Post
                    Yes, IBD is able to be contracted by pythons. All 'boids' are susceptible to IBD. IBD is transferred by contaminated substances, such as mites, feces, mucous, breeding, etc. From the studies that I have read, it is not a typical airborne type virus and generally is not easily transferred by normal "handling". Also to my understanding, the onset of IBD symptoms are much faster in pythons... specifically the Burmese python.
                    I have to profess I do have an ignorance about this with regards to pythons. I've never owned a python, and my interest has always leaned more towards boas. So when it comes to this, and some other aspects of python care, I'm not well versed. Methinks I need to broaden the scope of my knowledge. Thanks, Bebo.

                    I do find it interesting that Burms seem more susceptible to IBD, or at least it manifests quicker in Burms. I wonder what is different about their physiology than other pythons that allows for this. I can kind of understand why pythons, as a whole, might react differently to the disease and even show a quicker onset - being that, as a family, they have a different physiology than the boidae. And sometimes even a subtle difference in physiology is all it takes for a disease to become more specific, or affecting, to a given species or family.

                    Back on topic: I'm impressed with the steps the store manager took. Kudos for you for setting him in motion. I do find the company policy to hold animals in the back room for only 72 hours distressing. I understand why they have this in place, but I would think that if extenuating circumstances arise this could be, and would be, over-ridden.

                    I look forward to hearing about the out come of Tuesday's visit.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                      Good for you for helping out the poor creatures in the care of ignorant people! Education is what we need.

                      One thing to add though, we actually have no clue how IBD is spread or if it even exists the way we think it does. Rather, we don't know if inclusion bodies have anything really to do with the disease that is spread through collections causing neuro symptoms and death. Inclusion bodies have been found in perfectly healthy snakes of many species too, but seem to always be found in snakes displaying "IBD" signs. Make sure you check out UF's website since they are the university doing all the studies: Research UF|College of Veterinary Medicine.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                        That sounds horrible. The worst I've seen at a petstore around her is mouth rot on ball pythons and these were pretty big ball pythons so I have no clue if they maybe got them that way and were doing anything about it or what, but I would flip if I saw a dead animal... at a pet store. I wouldn't feel confident buying anything there that breathes. It's not like it smells once it dies so you know it was there some time...

                        I have read on some other forums about a few collectors who have dealt with IBD and most of them ended up losing most if not all of their collections due to it spreading (and they were not lumped together, they said). It doesn't sound good for that whole clutch, ecspecially if 2 or 3 have already passed.

                        I actually didn't know pythons could get IBD. I thought it was limited to just boas. Learn something new every day.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                          There is only one small shop Ill go to in my area. They only keep a couple reptiles(for display only) and they are well taken care of because the owners and about everyone that works there has reptiles at home. This is the only shop I go to, and ever will go to. I buy everything from this small shop to show I support them.

                          Basically when you go and buy stuff from a company that doesnt care about the animals they sell, you are supporting their habits. Stores like that will never get a penny from me.

                          RIP animals that die in pet stores =[

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                            Wow, you are right that is a ridiculous experience. It is ridiculous that you have gotten so upset over an experience that is surely an isolated incident. These are animals and they are going to get sick. The employees and Petco are not able to keep this from happening. I have been to this Petco many times and I have always found the store to be in top condition. I have also found the employees to be dedicated to their work.

                            From reading your blog, I would honestly have to say you were seeing this as a chance to show off your knowledge about snakes, rather than actual care about the animals. Maybe in the future you should relax and have more understanding of the situation. The company has policies and procedures to deal with this type of thing. I am sure the management did what they can to take care of the sickness of the animals.

                            I once got a dog from the pound, took it to the vet, it got a clean bill of health, and a couple of weeks later the dog became sick with Parvo. We had to have the dog put down. While I was saddened that the dog was sick and had to die, I did not get mad and start trying to teach the vet and the pound the error of their ways.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Ridiculous PetCo experience

                              Originally posted by richierich View Post
                              Wow, you are right that is a ridiculous experience. It is ridiculous that you have gotten so upset over an experience that is surely an isolated incident. These are animals and they are going to get sick. The employees and Petco are not able to keep this from happening. I have been to this Petco many times and I have always found the store to be in top condition. I have also found the employees to be dedicated to their work.

                              From reading your blog, I would honestly have to say you were seeing this as a chance to show off your knowledge about snakes, rather than actual care about the animals. Maybe in the future you should relax and have more understanding of the situation. The company has policies and procedures to deal with this type of thing. I am sure the management did what they can to take care of the sickness of the animals.

                              I once got a dog from the pound, took it to the vet, it got a clean bill of health, and a couple of weeks later the dog became sick with Parvo. We had to have the dog put down. While I was saddened that the dog was sick and had to die, I did not get mad and start trying to teach the vet and the pound the error of their ways.

                              I Completely disagree. This can not be an "isolated" incodent because he clearly said the employee stated.."Another one?"

                              Im not saying these employees were not "qualified" to work there but if an animal is dead long enough to put off a smell there it obviously something wrong there. I know if I were working somewhere and all of a sudden one specific "product" started going bad then theres obviously a reason. Whether it be animals or anything else. Theres clearly a reason and it needs to be fixed.

                              As for bebowebb, he was clearly just trying to help. Yes he may have not been in the best of moods given what he just saw but he obviously is knowledgable about the issue and was helping out as he could.

                              He is in no way crossing the line in what he did and in his anger level. He seemed to have handled the situation like it needed to be. He had knowledge that needed to be shared at that specific point in time and did what he had to do. I think just about anybody else on this forum would have done the same thing if they were in the same situation.

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