We at the YRC take the health of our rats very seriously, and for that reason do what we can to minimise infection risk at our shows. Alcohol gel and hand-washing facilities are provided, and kittens for sale or exchange are health-checked. All rats entered into the show undergo health-checks as part of the judging process. Obviously we cannot make it that there are no risks whatsoever, as shows involve lots of rats from different households coming into contact with each other, but there are some simple and sensible things that you too can do to help us all protect each others’ rats.
Please do not bring your rats if you have had – or had contact with –
- Any acute (new) infection related illness or unexpected deaths in the past 2 weeks;
- Brought in any new rats over the past 2 weeks;
- Been to any other shows or gatherings of rats in the past 2 weeks;
- Any rat related contact with rats of unknown background (eg rescue centre, pet shop) in the past 2 weeks;
- A virus within a small group of rats within the past 4 weeks:
- A virus within a group of 15 or more rats, or when raising a litter within the past 8 weeks.
Individual circumstances will be considered, if you are unsure whether or not you can attend with your rats please contact the club chair by email at YRCchair@gmail.com. Help us to keep your rats safe!
You can attend shows that are less than 2 weeks apart yourself without bringing rats but please remember that you can carry infections too, so best practice is to shower/bath after tending to your rats, and then put on clean clothes that have not been exposed to your rats. Remember not to go near your rats after this! You can do this in reverse on your return home in order to protect your own rats.
Shoulder rats are another consideration, and the YRC have guidelines for these too, as follows:
- carriers, or similar containers, should be provided for these rats and a source of food and moisture available at all times.
- no shoulder rats will be allowed on the stage area, in the kitchen or within 2 metres of the serving hatch, or within one metre of the judging areas for Varieties, Pets and Agility.
- rats of opposite sexes must not freerange or be in bags, pouches, carriers etc together at any time.
- the practice of mixing rats from more than one household – whether being held, freeranging or in bags, pouches or carriers etc – is strongly discouraged by the club.
- the passing of rats from person to person is at the sole risk of the parties involved.
- hand cleansing gel and/or washing facilities are available at all YRC shows and should be used frequently and particularly after handling rats.
- the responsibility of cleaning up any excreta, spilt food or bedding remains with the owner of the rats(s). Wipes and bin bags are provided at all YRC shows.
- shoulder rats will be subject to the same visual health checks as rats for exhibition should the committee feel that these are appropriate.
If your rats are unlucky to pick up an infection (usually respiratory) then they will need to undergo quarantine. This means no contact with any other rats or their owners (at shows, ratty gatherings/meets, other rat owners’ houses or your house) and no rats in or out for several weeks (up to 6 or 8 with some infections such as SDAV, the details of which are beyond the scope of this article) after the last rat recovering, depending on the infection involved. If you have any pregnant rats or litters then you need to quarantine until 4 weeks after the babies have weaned.
Remember that shows are far from the only place that infections can be picked up – other places include in vet surgeries (including Bordetella, a form of dog kennel cough that can be lethal to rats), pet shops, rescues and ‘back yard breeders’.
Feel free to contact the committee with any questions that you may have as we are always happy to help, guide, educate, inform and be helped, guided, educated and informed in return.