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
from a pet store, you do not bring it to a show for at least 4 weeks.
- 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.
- 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.
- You do not handle ANYONE else’s
animals, and that if you do, you do not put the animals onto
your shoulder or otherwise let the animals touch your clothing in
any way, and that you use nolvasan or parvosol prior to and
- You do not let ANYONE handle
your animals except for the health checkers and the judging staff,
and that if you do, you make that person use nolvasan or parvosol
prior to and immediately after handling and that you
do not let them put your animals onto their shoulders or otherwise
let your animals touch their clothing In any way.
- 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.
- When you take your animals home from
the show you quarantine them for at LEAST 2 weeks before putting
them back with your other animals.
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.
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.