Quarantining A New Rat

with permission from Carole Nelson of LilRatscal Rattery

There are bacteria and viral type diseases that can be transmitted in the air and even on your clothing and shoes. It is advisable to shower and change clothes after handling any pet store or new rats before handling your own.

If during the two-week quarantine period you notice any unusual symptoms such as respiratory problems, sneezing, wheezing, chest noises or excess chattering, ruffled coat, eyes and nose discharge, neck swelling, bulgy eyes or lethargy and loss of appetite you should immediately get the rat to a vet for proper treatment.

Unfortunately if any rat does get sick or die, then you must immediately put your entire colony in quarantine. The new quarantine period will be determined by what the results come back from the veterinarian/pathologist as to what you are dealing with.

Sialodacryoadenitis Virus (SDA) can be deadly to your rats. There is no cure for it and rats can die from secondary infections. High energy foods, lots of  liquids good ventilation and cleanliness along with proper antibiotics is about all you can do to help save your rats.

You will also require a complete quarantine of your rodent colony for 2 to 3 months starting from the date of the last litter born. During the quarantine period for SDA, you must not have any litters born and do not take in or give out any rats while you are in strict quarantine to be successful in eliminating SDA completely.

Other diseases may just need to have the animals treated with medication for a specified period of time until the symptoms are gone. Unfortunately, for some viruses and bacteria, once the animals are exposed they can still carry them (we call them silent carriers) but they show no clinical signs.

They could have Mycoplasma plumpness or Mouse Hepatitis Virus (MHV). In the case of SDA virus, once the animals have recovered from the virus, they are supposedly immune to it. I believed that there are more than one strain just like our flu bugs and rats can catch a new strain again as early as 6 months later.

It is also possible you could be dealing with more than one pathogen in infected animals and you will need to treat all the different diseases accordingly. There are many viruses that by themselves just show mild symptoms, but when combined with several other viruses and bacteria, you end up with a deadly outbreak and loss of numerous animals.


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