American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

AFRMA Health Checker’s Guideline List

ALL animals (show or otherwise) at every show will be health checked and approved by an AFRMA representative. This is for the health and safety of ALL the animals at the show. If any sick animals are found (any illness or problem that would normally take the animal off the show table, e.g. respiratory, scabs, etc.), we will require that the entire cage be set aside (wire divided cages to be considered as one cage; solid partition cages to count as individual cages) and none can be shown or sold out of that cage. Update: Animals are to be brought in individual solid-sided carriers.

Colored dots will be used denoting whether the cage passed or didn’t pass. Yellow is OK, blue is NOT OK.

If the health checker finds any illness or problem with an animal, make sure the problem is explained and how to solve it.


All exhibitors/sellers must get their animals health checked upon entering the room. Then follow their way down to the Show Secretary table to pick up show paperwork, make any substitutions, get questions answered, pick up show boxes, etc. Then they proceed into the room and find a table to put their animals on. Don’t forget to quarantine any animals from the show when you get home! Do so for 4–12 weeks! [Effective September 15, 2018]

Check over each animal for the following points:

  • Body Parts. Check that all toes are whole, whiskers are all present, ears are not nicked or split, tails are not kinked, etc.; in other words, all parts are there and in good shape. Any problems like these will keep the animal from competing. Pets may have missing parts as long as it is not a fresh injury.
  • Condition – The animal should be neither too fat nor too thin. An animal in good condition looks good, feels good, and should appear to be bursting with good health and vigor. There should be no runny or loose stools.
  • Coat – The coat should lie smooth and flat against the skin and should have a glossy shine. It should not stand up all over or look as if it has been chewed on.
  • Skin – There must be no sores or scabs on the skin or live things such as mites or lice. Lice look like white nits on the hair that don’t come off when you brush your hand on the fur; mites move.
  • Eyes – The eyes must be wide open, bright, and clear. There should be no red discharge, runny eyes, cloudiness, etc.
  • Breathing – Breathing must be normal. If you hear any rattling, wheezing, sneezing, chirping, etc., the animal has a respiratory condition and needs medication. The nose should be clear of any red discharge and not be runny.
  • Age – Check birthdate on kittens to be shown/sold (rats must be 6 weeks minimum/mice 5 weeks; runts or babies from large litters will need to wait longer before being offered for sale as they will not be approved to sell at the minimum age). *

Health Checker

  • Have owner read yellow Health Check card with rules on it.
  • Check over EACH individual animal
  • Check for missing body parts (pets may have missing parts as long as not a fresh injury)
  • Check for body weight; condition of coat
  • Check for scabs
  • Check for lice, mites, internal or external parasites
  • Check for red discharge from eyes, nose
  • Check for sneezing/wheezing/rattling
  • Check the birthdate on kittens to be shown/sold (rats must be 6 weeks minimum;/mice 5 weeks; runts or babies from large litters will need to wait longer before being offered for sale as they will not be approved to sell at the minimum age).
  • Give appropriate dot per cage for pass (yellow) or don’t pass (blue) and date and initial each dot.
  • If animal(s) don’t pass, explain why and how to treat.
  • Check cleanliness of cage and appropriate bedding used (no cedar or pine!)
  • Send them down the way to the Show Secretary to pick up their show information.

All exhibitors are to assume liability and responsibility to research the many zoonotic and other diseases that rodents may carry and pass on to humans or other rodents. You are showing at your own risk.

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.

Animals are NOT to be handled at the shows other than by the owner, health checkers, and judges.

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Updated September 22, 2018