Let’s face it! Diagnostic testing of our rat colonies can be intimidating to say the least. Test results can cause high levels of anxiety. Through this site, the pet rat breeder should be able to gain confidence in the health of their colonies and the stigma of positive results should be lowered. The more testing that is done in the breeding community and the more transparent those results are, the better the health of rat colonies will be. Hopefully, reducing the stigma and confusion surrounding testing will encourage pet rat breeders to do more regular testing. More testing will only result in healthier more immunocompetent rat colonies and help breeders guide their adopters on potential risks owning pet rats present.
WHAT IS DIAGNOSTIC HEALTH TESTING?
Diagnostic health testing is the examination of biological samples (blood, saliva, feces) to accurately identify potential health threats within your colonies. This testing is routinely done by Charles River Laboratories.
HOW DO I TEST MY COLONY?
Serology tests via blood samples and PCR tests via fecal/oral samples taken from rats between 8-12 weeks old can be submitted to Charles River Laboratories. This website site is designed to help step through the testing process.
WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD TO TEST MY COLONY?
Finances are definitely something to consider when testing! See the Packages page for more information on pricing. Thankfully, a yearly breeding moratorium of 8 weeks (starting once the youngest litter turns 4 weeks old) can burn out viruses such as SDAV, IDIR, PVM, and MAV. A yearly moratorium can also help keep viruses such as PCAR, CarB, ECUN, MPUL and Rat Parvoviruses at bay.
WHY IS HEALTH TESTING NECESSARY?
Routine health testing helps us stay informed of potential and likely illnesses in our colonies so that we are able to keep our rats, ourselves, and others healthy. There are many common illnesses in pet rats that can come from bringing in new rats, food and bedding, and/or close contact with wild rodents.
WHICH ILLNESSES SHOULD BE TESTED FOR?
In general, zoonotic illnesses that cause sickness in humans such as RBF, HANT, LCMV and SEND should be tested for yearly. Any additional illnesses you test for will depend on your specific needs! See the Packages and Infectious Agents List pages for more information!