Quarantine Information

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It is highly recommended to quarantine ANY and ALL new animals your bring into your home if you have other similar animals already in your home.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is the practice of keeping animals or people completely separate from others animals, especially the same species or others that may be susceptible to the same diseases. It is used to protect both existing, and new animals from disease and parasites.

Why Quarantine?

All animals are susceptible to certain diseases and parasites. Most diseases and parasites have an incubation period of some sort in which the animal is infected but not showing any symptoms. During this period, the animal is usually contagious and can spread the disease or parasites, even though it is not apparent that there is anything wrong. Some of these diseases may be airborne and/or cling to clothing, skin, and other items. Some such diseases can be lethal and wipe out an entire household of beloved pets!
It is possible to accidentally introduce disease or parasites, even to animals under the best of care, through passive interactions with outside animals and even by simply coming into contact with something an infected animal was in contact with. What this means is that your own existing stock could potentially be infected with something when you attain new animals. This possibility makes quarantine important in protecting new animals as well as existing.

How Do I Quarantine?

The ideal and only true quarantine is achieved by keeping new and existing animals in completely separate airspaces from one another. This generally means in separate buildings. An ideal quarantine would also involve different people caring for the new and existing animals. This true quarantine is very difficult for most to achieve, but if you have the resources, this is how it should be done. Some people are able to achieve this with good friends who do not have any similar species themselves and who are willing to care for someone else's animals for a time.
Very few people are able to achieve such a quarantine...it is unfortunate, but true, and I am not one to tell anyone that they shouldn't get new animals if they can't do a true quarantine. The next best thing to having someone else watch new animals, is to keep them in as far removed a space from current animals as possible. By that, I mean keeping them in a shed or such if weather allows...if nothing else, a room as far as possible from existing animals that doesn't share a ventilation system. It is also best to change clothing and shower between handling new and existing animals. Please also remember to clean any inanimate objects that have to be moved between new and existing pets.
If you still can't, or won't, quarantine in even that manner, please, please, please, at least keep new and existing animals in separate rooms and wash hands between handling either group.
Do not allow new and existing animals anywhere near one-another...even just for photos! SO many times I've seen people take photos of new with existing animals and then claim that they are quarantining them...that is NOT quarantine! Allowing animals to interact, even for just a moment...completely defeats the purpose of quarantine!

How Long Should I Quarantine?

The ideal quarantine length is determined by the length of the incubation periods of diseases that your animals are susceptible to. The general absolute minimum quarantine period most will risk for any reptiles or small animals is 2-3 weeks. This will only help to prevent diseases with extremely short incubation periods. Generally recommended for rodents is a 4-5 week quarantine to monitor for some viral infections. For reptiles a longer quarantine of 2 to 3 months is recommended, mainly due to the very long incubation period of cryptospiridium which is essentially 100% lethal to nearly all reptiles.

Where Can I Find More Information on Quarantine Practices?

Here are some links with quarantine information, including some on the procedures of labs around the country.
American Associaton for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) Quarantine Overview
University of Oklahoma Quarantine Procedures
University of South Florida Quarantine Procedures
University of Minnesota Quarantine FAQ
American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association Quarantining Page
AFRMA Quaranting Page Part 2
Rat and Mouse Club of America (RMCA) Dos and Don'ts of Sendai/SDA Quarantine
RMCA Quarantine Information
Rat Guide.com Quarantine Information Page
Herpcenter.com Reptile Quarantine Page
Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic of Arizona Quarantine Page
RepVet (a South African site) Reptile Quarantine Page

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