American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the Spring 2001 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Disease Control

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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Updated September 22, 2018