The Importance of Proper Quarantine
©1997-2004 S.Easter of Lone Star Rats of Central Texas. All rights reserved.

Why your rats are more than worth the precaution!

Please note that the guidelines included in this article apply to NORTH AMERICA ONLY

Breeders and pet owners in other countries, especially the UK, do not need to be as strict about quarantine because they do not have viruses as severe as we have in North America.

Why Quarantine?

Rats are susceptable to a number of illessnes and parasites, from some very mild ones like lice and mites, to the very severe, such as the often deadly viruses SDA and Sendai. Unfortunately rats are often infected and contagious for several weeks before they might begin to show any symptoms of being ill. Proper quarantine helps to reduce the risk of transmitting diseases and parasites, whether you are bringing new rats home, preparing to go to a show, or returning from a show. Ideally in each circumstance, the rats in question should be quarantined for a minimum of 3 weeks. If no symtoms are seen after that time, then it is generally safe to consider your rats free from most diseases.

Show Quarantines

Prior to and following each rat show you attend, you should quarantine for a minimum of 3 weeks, or longer if the club specifies. Often they do require longer quarantines, and that is nothing to be alarmed about, it is just the club trying to do what they can to ensure the safety of all rats who attend.

Pre-Show Quarantine :

Post-Show Quarantine :

New Rat Quarantine

Whenever a new rat is brought into your home they should be quarantined seperately, ideally in a seperate air space (i.e. next door or at someone else's home, such as a relative or friend who doesn't have rats), but if that is not realistic, then as far away as possible from your present rats as possible. Absolutely NEVER just intruduce them in with your current rats!! If needed, plan on moving the current rats to some other location in your home to ensure a great enough amount of seperation between your present rats and the new rats. They MUST NOT be housed in the same room or airspace.... having some in the dining room and some in the living room does not count if the two are directly connected. Ideallly if you can't manage a seperate airspace, there should be at least several rooms of seperation, but if that is not possible, then they should be as far away as they can be.

Normal Quarantine Procedures:

Following a few simple guidelines with hellp assure the safety of your rats:

What to do when there are problems:

Do your part!

Always quarantine consistantly and correctly! Quarantine isn't something to be taken lightly, and it's not something to be done only when convenient. Don't support breeders who don't or won't quarantine properly, it puts your own rats at risk, as well as sends the breeder the message that it's ok to cut corners. If it starts with inadequate quarantine, what comes next?

Quarantining is highly effective in keeping your rats healthy when done correctly, and it is worth the effort EACH an EVERY time! I have personally dealt with the worst of what can happen, SDA, back when knowledge about proper quarantining simply did not exist. Now that the information is out there, there is absolutely no reason not to do everything possible to prevent the spead of disease. Your rats are more than worth the inconvenience! As Gabriel Edson of the Blue Velver Rattery says: QUARANTINE IS THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS!

©1997-2004 S.Easter of Lone Star Rats of Central Texas. All rights reserved.