By Helen Pembrook
Where do outbreaks come from?
- They may come from a breeder or show
participant that has recently acquired an infected animal from another
source (such as another breeder or a pet store) and is not yet aware
that his/her animals are infected. The incubation period for most
diseases is 3–10 days, so the infected animals may not yet be
showing signs of illness even though they are contagious.
- Outbreaks may come from a member of
the general public who is visiting the show and has infected animals
at home or who has recently been to a pet store and come in contact
with an infected animal. The disease can be harbored on their shirt,
shoes, pants, purse, etc.
To control the risk of disease outbreaks at shows, AFRMA STRONGLY recommends:
- If you have acquired a new rat or mouse, you do not bring it to a show for
at least 12 weeks. Update: Any new animals
you bring into your rattery/mousery must go through a minimum 12-week quarantine period
before being entered in a show. [Effective September 15, 2018] Breeders
should be testing new stock brought in as some diseases have no symptoms.
- If your animals are sneezing in the slightest, LEAVE THEM AT HOME.
- If you suspect in the least that
any of your animals may have been exposed to, or may currently
have or be carrying some sort of contagion, including disease or parasites, you
do not bring any of your animals to the show. DO NOT handle
or touch anyone else’s animals while you are at the show.
- That you leave your animals in their
cages for the duration of the show except when called up for their
classes. After they are judged they should be immediately removed
from the judging table and returned to their cages.
Animals are NOT to be handled at the shows other than by the owner,
health checkers, and judges. [Effective September 15, 2018]
- When you are selling animals you make
ALL potential customers use nolvasan or parvosol prior
to and immediately after allowing them to handle your animals,
and that you do not let them put the animals on their shoulders
or otherwise touch the customer’s clothing in any way until the
animal is sold and GONE. Sale animals should not have anyone handle them
other than people serious about buying them.
- You do not let ANYONE handle
your animals except for the health checkers and the judging staff.
- You do not let YOUR animals run
loose on top of their cages or on the tables or anywhere else, and
that you do not let ANYONE ELSE put or let loose THEIR
animals onto or next to your cages.
- That you bring your own bath
size towel to be used as a background if your animals win any classes
and need to have a picture taken.
- You bring your animals in aquariums,
plastic critter carriers, or lab cages instead of wire cages to decrease
the risk of contamination from other people’s caged animals being
next to yours. Update: Animals are to be brought
in individual solid-sided carriers. [Effective September 15, 2018]
- When you take your animals home from
the show you quarantine them for at LEAST 4–12 weeks
before putting them back with your other animals. [Effective September 15, 2018]
We at AFRMA do our best to protect the animals
from the spread of illness. Unfortunately, when there are multiple
animals in the same room, it is not always possible to prevent the
outbreak of disease.
When around other rodents whether at a pet shop, friend, breeder, show,
get-together, etc., a person should always be thinking they are potentially
bringing something in, so it should be standard practice to shower and put on
clean clothes when you get home and wait a few hours before handling/visiting
your stock. Always assume there’s a contagious risk in any contact outside the home colony. (added September 18, 2018)
If we all regularly followed these precautionary
rules of thumb, it might be possible to greatly reduce or eliminate
the spread of disease to other people’s animals as well as our
own precious pets.
Go to Quarantining
Go to Quarantine Form
Go to Quarantining Part 2
Go to Medical - Rodent Diseases Contagious to People
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