Monday, July 26, 2010

Mistakes were made

You know when you know better, but you go ahead with something because you think it'll be OK just this once or it's just a tad easier/more convenient than the right way of going about it? Well, I did something like that recently and I've been kicking myself ever since.

One of the guinea pigs died and I thought it would be nice to replace it.

What I should have done, is to contact the veterinary nurse who'd sexed the guinea pig babies a couple of years ago and see if he could've put me in touch with his nan who rescues guinea pigs, or to have gone to the local rescue centre to see if they had any. What I did do, was take the children to a well-known pet store.

We ended up choosing two, since the children couldn't agree on which one they liked better, and it's the more the merrier with guinea pigs really.

A day or two after we got them home that I realised there was something not quite right about them, and I felt a vet visit would be in order. As it was the weekend, I decided to wait and see. During that weekend a well-known pet store rang with their courtesy call to make sure all was OK, which it wasn't, so they advised me to take the guineas into their store if I still wasn't happy with their progress. This I duly did, the cashier blurted "oh it looks like the same thing the others had" and they offered to take them away and have them treated or to pay any vet bills if I chose to hang onto them. Obviously the children would have been distressed to lose them, even temporarily, so to the vet's it was.

They were true to their word and stumped up the cash for the guineas' treatment and tests that were done on them. At the same time, they had been having their stock treated & tested. Their results came back sooner than ours, and they allowed the vet to let us know, as it was actually quite a serious problem (ringworm) that is highly infectious and communicable to humans, and bearing in mind we have other animals and children, it was important to avoid it spreading. It was fortunate that we'd kept them separate from our others from the start anyway.

So it's been plastic gloves, extensive washing and no handling at all by the kids while the guineas are treated. It looks like we're on the home straight now, thank goodness, and I'm hoping they will be able to start actually being pets and that I can abandon this role of reluctant veterinary nurse in the next couple of days.

I've done a lot of hanging about the vet's for one reason and another in the last few weeks, and at times a well-known pet store employees were there at the same time and I gleaned a few things about them. While I daresay their systems are as ethical as they can be, the nature of their business must be one that tempts their suppliers into poor practice. I mean, to have a convenient and ready supply of young animals, it's bound to encourage shades of 'puppy farming'.

What pisses me off about this experience, other than the culpability of a well-known pet store in selling us sick animals*, is that I should and did know better than to have bought animals there. Animals shouldn't be commodities and bought in batches.

* But should point out, they were probably caught out themselves and paid vet fees so have behaved decently, really.

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