Woodbridge, Virginia
Not resolved

I bought a hamster for my daughter at Petco, Dale City VA March 4th, 2010. We were told by the associate not to handle her for a few days and let her get used to her home, put her in a quiet place, etc. We did that and unfortunately since I wasn't handling her I didn't know she developed the disease called Wet-tail. When I picked her up on day 6 her bottom was all wet and it was apparent she had diarrhea.

I first assumed I was feeding her the wrong food so I went back into Petco and bought the food she was eating when I got her. I told the associate of the situation and she said "it sounds like Wet-tail. That is very serious and they only have a 50% chance of survival, if you caught it early. You better take her to a vet right away." I said "I'm not sure I should spend like $100. to take her to a vet if there's a 50% chance she'll die anyway." She never mentioned Petco will pay the vet bill if it's within 15 days. (Unfortunately I didn't look that closely at the sale paper when I bought her or I would have known and Princess might still be alive today.)

I called the Petco back after doing some research online about Wet-tail, to ask if they sold Dry Tail meds.

(I was never given a care sheet nor was there any mention of the possibility of this disease)When I called I asked them if they sold the meds there. They said they did not. They offered no help nor did they mention I could take her to the vet at their expense. I then called Petsmart to see if they had the meds. They did not but suggested I call Petco back as their policy is to take sick animals back within 15 days and treat them.

I did this. I was told by Matt on the phone, yes, bring her in and we'll treat her.

When I brought her the manager, Don was there and said "no, we don't do that, we will treat her, but you are returning her." I said "that is not what I was told on the phone, Matt said you would treat her for me. What will you do with her if she recovers, resell her?" He said yes. So I said "why can't you just treat her then and let me have her back after?" He reluctantly agreed. I asked him if he would please call me in a couple days and let me know how she was. He assured me he would. I left with an uneasy feeling and no kind of care or compassion from this man. I assumed we couldn't visit as he said she'd be in a back room and he didn't act like he wanted to be bothered with the whole thing anyway. Mind you, my daughter, who I bought the hamster for was with me and very upset about this. 3 days passed. since I didn't hear I assumed she was still alive and recoving. My daughter kept asking me about her and I said "if we haven't heard anything then she's still alive. He said he'd call if she passed." *** me. I shouldn't have assumed he'd stand by his word. I trusted these people to care for this pet.

I called on Sunday at 3 pm. and asked Don how she was. He put me on hold and said he had to check something. He came back and said "she didn't make it." I wasn't sure. I thought it might be another one. I knew we had one die last night but I wasn't sure if it was yours." I was sooo upset. First of all, he didn't even know which one? That means they may have a few in there dying. Second of all, he looked me and my daughter in they eye, said they'd take care of her and that he'd call to let me know. I hung up and cried and couldn't help but feel that this guy doesn't care about these poor little creatures at all or the fact that kids are having their hearts broken. He offered to replace her.

I went in the next day to get my money back. I don't want another one from there. He wasn't there. The other associates know nothing about it and said they'd have to call him. Come back tomorrow.

I called the next day. I talked to a nice lady and told her the situation. (she knew nothing of it either, makes me wonder if anyone really cared for that poor little hamster) I asked her if she was actually treated. She went on to tell me that they had a couple others in there with the same thing. Nice!! So it seems as they are selling sick hamsters. And on top of that they are not warning people of the dangers of Wet-tail, not giving out care sheets, and continuing to sell them. She told me "when I take a hamster back I tell the people to come in and visit it while it's in the sick room, make sure it's being treated, I tell them about wet-tail and what to look for, etc..." Too bad I didn't get her as a sales person. Princess might be alive. This all boils down to poor management. Petco's motto is the animals come first. Well, if that were true, wouldn't the manager train all his employees to inform pet purchasers of potential diseases that are very common, what to look for?" Especially if they've been getting them back with this. They know about this! How ethical is that? They are little animals. I guess they're just disposable. It's horrible. Please stay away from Petco's! Learn from me. Do not buy animals from petstores. They are unhealthy and you will get your heart broken and watch a poor animal suffer.

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i got a teddy bear hamster in october. but today when i checked up on her she was not moving at all, had a wet tail, and a bunch of *** i rarely saw her outside of her strawberry when i had her, so i think she was ill.


Nobody likes rodents anyways they r discusting


I got a teddy bear hamster on Sunday and she started showing signs of wet tail Wednesday and petco had me take her to the vet on Thursday. I treating her w antibiotics and milk of magnesium.

I also put vit c drops in her water. They told me yesterday Thursday that she wasn't use to the food I was giving her. No one told me anything when I purchased her. I noticed she just laid around all the time.

She is still laying around but I make her drink every little while. I also got the food that she was eating at petco.

I hope I will see some improvement tomorrow. I haven't seen her eat anything since I've noticed the wet tail.


I'm not sure about the store you purchased the hamster at but I know my store recieves hamsters (and other small animals) at least every two weeks. The hamsters are still really young and as all other young animals are more susceptible to illness.

These hamsters are weaned, transperted and sometimes have to endure a diatary change that can make them even more susceptible because of stress. Wet tail happens to be the most common thing I've seen in our small animals and the most dangerous. I feel bad that Don was an *** because our policie states we will pay for vetinary care if it is required within 15 days of purchase as long as you bring us the animal.

I can promise that we (at least the stores I've worked at) never sell sick or injured animals. I also feel bad because only an *** wouldn't have the brains to call and inform you that Princess passed away.


sorry but im going with ?? you should have done your research not on the store and how they sell pets duhhh.

how about reading a care sheet online or any pet you should always do research ON THE PET not the store, other wise pets die. next time i really need to do some research please for the pet.


its all your faults petcos beacause they didnt inform u and yours beacause u didnt notice :( :?


its all your faults petcos beacause they didnt inform u and yours beacause u didnt notice :( :?


I am sorry for your loss.

I work for petco and I justed wanted to let you know that that store was the exception, not the rule.

Whenever I sell an animal I inform the customer about everything. I tell them about the health guarantee and tell them what signs of illness to look out for. That being said, I have NEVER knowingly sold a sick animal. It is against my morals and beliefs and it is against petco's policy.

Unfortunately animals get sick. People do too. Petco isn't hiding sick hamsters from customers. The wellness area is a "hospital" room to treat the sick animals (it's also used for overstock animals). Leaving a sick animal on the sales floor would surely lead to it's death. It is more stressful for the sick animal and they could also be attacked by their "roommates". It's no different than someone being in a hospital when they are very sick. It's where they'll get the best treatment and care, and increase their odds of survival.


I'm a veterinarian and I have seen countless cases of wet-tail. If it developed on day 6, you most likely caused it.

It may have been stressed induced, as stress lowers the immune system and makes the hamster vulnerable to infection. The stress of moving into a new environment is very stressful on hamsters.

I see countless cases of ignorance but this one really gets me. This owner claims that it is the store's fault that she was "not informed" of things that hamsters can catch.

She claims she is a responsible pet owner. She admitted that the hamster was an impulse buy, that her daughter suckered her into purchasing it while they were there buying rabbit feed. How is this responsible AT ALL? Not only is she an irresponsible pet owner, but an irresponsible parent as well.

Teach your daughter some responsibility! She wants a hamster? Tell her to do some research and you will consider it. Don't just give in on the spot.

THAT is what is wrong with so many pet owners - they don't bother to educate themselves and then want to blame someone else.

I'm sorry for the hamster's loss, not yours.


You quoted, "No, I didn't know about Wet tail. I am ignorant on that.

It blows my mind that a vet tech would side with a huge conglomerate like Petco & say something as boldly IGNORANT as "I'm sure Petco would never knowlingly sell a sick animal." "

Um...no. We would NEVER sell a sick animal.

Like he/she said - it's unethical and bad for business. We have plenty of hamsters, we would never sell a sick one if we knew about it.


I agree with ?? This owner was obviously ignorant.

Came close to driving your husband away? Wow.... and she DOES sound like an ignorant hoarder. Who buys a pet without researching it first?

She obviously doesn't know anything about animal care. Especially for masters. Probably stress induced. And a heart murmur is a totally livable condition.

Sounds like she is just looking for someone to blame because she was too cheap and ignorant to take proper care of her pets. Sad that people like this exist.


You just proved my point. Do your research before purchasing a pet.

Period. And be prepared for vet bills. Period. No excuses.

Don't be hypocritical.

I wish that pets weren't sold through petco/petsmart, I really do, because most of the time they go to ignorant homes.


You are a piece of dirt!!! Go to *** I'm sure you will anyway. Judgemental witch. I have saved more animals lives than I can count. I have taken in & spent my savings draining my accounts to save the lives of dogs, cats, rabbits, snakes, etc. etc. I have been doing this since I was a child. Worked w/rescue groups for yrs. I don't know who the *** you think you're talking to but if you had any human decency or nerve you wouldn't hide/troll on here & harrass people who are grieving over a lost pet. Living conditions? The cage was pristine. I take excellent care of my pets. & forgive me all to *** if I didn't want to spend $100. on animal that was sure to die anyway, as is evidenced by others testimonies. I did actually call my vet & another & they both confirmed that I'd spend upwards of 200. & the animal would most likely die anyway. I'm not wealthy (as most of my extra money goes to my pets & kids) but I do have the money to care for my pets properly & I have several pets that are in excellent health. Including 2 rabbits with a disease that could have killed them early on & a pitbull w/a heart murmor who is still thriving at age 9. I have spent PLENTY on my pets. I just made a more intelligent decision than to toss 200. out the window on a pet I just bought for 10. that (by the vets account himself) was probably going to die anyway.

I would LOVE to meet you in person. I'm done with this now. Such a monumental waste of my time. As I sit here writing to you, you waste of life, I have pets who need my care. So I will *** the notification so that I don't receive them anymore. So respond if you like but I'm done reading your hate. you don't know me. I have dedicated my whole frigin life to saving pets. It is the thing I have been most passionate about. I have taken in more strays/sickly animals, dogs that were to be put down, whole litters of puppies, etc. than anyone I know. I came close to driving my husband away due to too many animals & using up all our $ on them. & don't take that the wrong way & say I'm a hoarder either. The way your mind obviously works, i'm sure it will go there. They were all in clean, good condition & I didn't have more than I had room for or time for. I found good homes for all of them, used adoption contracts, home visits, etc. No, I didn't know about Wet tail. I am ignorant on that. It blows my mind that a vet tech would side with a huge conglomerate like Petco & say something as boldly IGNORANT as "I'm sure Petco would never knowlingly sell a sick animal." Talk about frigin ignorance!!!! What rock did you crawl out from under? OH No, they'd never do that. Pet stores never get huge shipments of sickly animals. they never hide sick ones, they never buy from abusive breeders, they never ship from overseas in crates where hundreds of animals die. etc, etc. Oh no, that never happens. Do some research retard!! Go to Peta's website.

Yeah, you don't work for Petco.

You really need to put your energy elsewhere. I have the right to complain about a store doing wrong. PERIOD!! For you to come on here & just harass me & fling insults is, well, childish, mean-spirited & cowardly. If you want to confront me like a person with any guts I'd be more than happy to have a real conversation with you. You obviously need to lash out at someone. Email me directly. I'll talk to you. This isn't the place for it. dogzlyfe@gmail.com

I have reported your comments so hopefully they'll be removed soon anyway.


Talk about ignorant and hypocritical!! Listen to yourself! You didn't even know what wet-tail was when you purchased the animal. THAT is ignorant! I agree that petco should have told you about their return policy the first time, but ignorance in pet owning was your responsibility. By the way, wet-tail is not a disease, it's a symptom. It can be caused by any number of things, including stress. Stress lowers the immune system. I know that petco would never knowingly sell a sick animal, it's unethical and just bad for business. And of course they keep the healthy ones out for customers to see. They aren't going to sell sickly animals or keep them in the same cage as the healthy ones, spreading disease! The animal developed wet-tail in your care. I'm not saying it was your fault, but it didn't have wet-tail when you bought it. By your own admission, it developed it on day 6. Perhaps it had an underlying condition that didn't manifest until you took it home, or perhaps it did develop illness in your care. There is no way of knowing. Judging by your lack of hamster knowledge prior to purchasing one, I wouldn't be surprised if it developed wet-tail due to its living conditions. Hamsters have a very high metabolic rate, thus disease develops and manifests itself quickly. 6 days sounds like it became sick in your care. And you didn't want to spend $100 to save your pet? Yeah, you are a real "petlover."

I'm not trying to defend petco in any way. The ONLY point of my comment is that as a responsible pet owner, you should:

1. research any pet before bringing one home. It is NOT the store's responsibility to educate you. You should not be educated "upon purchase." You should educate yourself PRIOR to purchase. People like this kill me. "Well I didn't know!! Nobody told me!" Well, that's because it's YOUR responsibility to educate YOURSELF. Ignorance can only be attributed to one's own lack of knowledge.

2. Accept responsibility for any life in your care. Even if they didn't have a return policy, you should have sought medical attention for your hamster. You didn't want to spend $100 to try and save its life? $100 really isn't that much money, and if it is to you, then you shouldn't be taking on the responsibility of pet ownership. I'm a vet tech and people like this kill me. If you don't have the financial means to be a responsible pet owner, then don't be one!


To ???

I am going to research the animal? I'm able to know that a particular store has a whole "batch" of hamsters that are sickly? They are bringing them into the back room & disposing of them & keeping the ones that look good out for the customers to see. I am able to research this??? Yes, I found this out after by running into an employee outside of Petco who was about to quit.

Coming on here & writing your IGNORANT comments just to incite people is mean & insensitive & helps no one. Go troll somewhere else!! I am far from ignorant.

If you read any of the other comments you'd know that curing wet tail is pretty difficult, esp. when it's that bad. The animal was obviously already sick. They knew that. They had several that died. It is THE STORE'S ethical responsibility to sell healthy animals, clean cages properly after some die from a disease & to give some type of info on the animals to new owners. For God's sake, you get more info when you buy new electronics then when buying a pet. You are ingorant & mean. Get a life you soul-less person!!

Really, the internet just brings out you people who love to hide on here anonymously & act all big & bad & self-righteous.


It's the stores fault for not informing you about wet tail? How about you be a responsible pet owner and research the animal BEFORE you purchase it??

That way you know how to care for it BEFORE you take it home. Stop blaming others for your ignorance.


Kei, I'm sorry for your loss. What is so sad to me about these situations is that the animals are treated as "items," a product, that can be returned like a broken toy or malfunctioning radio or something.

When people buy these animals they are getting a pet, a family member & don't look at them like an object that can be returned if it doesn't work right. So it's very hard for us, as animal lovers, to just turn the poor sick animal in & get a gift card or a new one. How do we know if that animal lives or if it even receives proper care? I learned a very hard lesson in all of this.

I should have known better than "buying" a pet anyway. It was ***. I have done animal rescue most of my life. I have adopted all my cats, dogs & rabbits from reputable rescues or taken in as strays.

I don't even agree with selling animals. I got suckered in by my daughter when we were at Petco to buy rabbit food. They were so cute & I momentarily forgot that I know better than to buy from pet stores. I would never buy a dog from one so I don't know why I thought it would be different with a hamster.

They are a product, to make money off, that's the size of it. Granted, there may be plenty of people who work for Petco who truly care for the animals & work there because they love animals. However, the bigger picture is that it's a money making machine & mngt. in some of the stores is pretty messed up.

I have talked to many people about this. This is not the only Petco I know of like this & certainly not the only bad experience I've had a Petco. I feel selling pets in pet stores should stop completely. After reading about where many of them come from, the poor health they're in, how many die "en-route", etc.

They are disposable animals. It's not fair to the animals. Why do we as humans think we have the right to do this to animals? It's messed up.

So I for one, have learned my lesson & would never buy from a pet store again. I tell everyone I know not to as well. I now have 2 very healthy happy teddy bear hamsters. I got them from a neighbor who had a hamster get pregnant accidentally.

They have been the picture of health & we love them dearly. Good luck to you Kei, my heart goes out to you. I feel your pain. Look at shelters & on Petfinder.com.

Also if you have a neighbor/friend who has one like mine you can get one that way. Check Craigslist. Many people post on there when they need to give up a pet. Much better way to get animals.

Thank you to the Petco employee who actually cares & is dedicated to proper animal care.

I do appreciate your comments. You gave us some good info.


Well, yeah, I get that "Petco Employee". Why don't you just go back to your job?

My pet is dead now and I really don't care how much you pretend to care.

Because I am indeed, a PISSED OFF CUSTOMER!


In order for Petco to take an animal to the vet and have it treated, you must do a complete return on the pet if it is within the 15 day guarantee. You do not have to exchange it for another, you can get a refund or gift card for the original amount. In a situation like yours, most Petcos will allow you to re-purchase the hamster/pet if it survives it's treatment from the vet.


I just lost a dwarf hamster to wet tail from a Petco two days ago. They would not treat him without taking him and replacing him.

I said no and took him to a GREAT vet and spent 50 dollars on him. I fed him critical care, water, pepto, and vet RX'd meds for 2 days. Then, I woke up in the morning and he was breathing shallow, not curled up, and his eyes wouldn't open. My mother said "It looks like he will pass within the hour".

With him not being responsive and probably in pain, I took him to Petco and asked them to take him back and put him to sleep because I knew it was indeed the end. I cried so hard for that whole day and still do when thinking about him.

Before you get an adorable, loving hamster, check out petfinder.com or adoptapet.com and find a rescue that has them! They actually care!

Animal control and shelters will often have them as well. I hope no first time owner gets the sadness I did.

For wet tail is contagious and infects entire cages. Don't let it happen to you!