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Another Reason Not To Have A Pet Rat

Rats And Mice In A Medical School Laboratory
(Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
I hate rats. Not just your nasty dumpster diving foot long rats, either, I hate lab rats, too. I was watching the Oscar-winning film, The Deer Hunter the other day, and the most disturbing image to me was not the death and dismemberment of the Viet Nam war or the graphic depiction of people blowing their brain out playing Russian Roulette, no, it was the shot of the rat wriggling through the dead bodies in the water.

I even hated the movie Ratatouille because the main character was a rat. Not even Pixar can make me like rats. So, it follows that I would never have a rat for a pet; even if I were so inclined, finding out there is a deadly disease called “Rat bite fever” would certainly dissuade me. A 10 year old California boy is dead after he contracted rat-bite fever from one of his two pet rats.

The story is in the news because the boy’s family is suing Petco for selling them a diseased rat while Petco, for the most part, is saying that the vendor from whom they got the rat should be responsible. The story points out that Petco does supply a fact sheet with rats that warns of the possibility of diseases, including rat-bite fever. The station also determined that it would cost $40 to test one rat just for rat-bite fever; the rats sell for between 6 and 11 dollars. If you have a pet rat, you’ve been warned.

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