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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The local small animal rescue here is struggling with a hoarding case of over 500 rats (and almost all the females are pregnant which means 100s of more babies. All from one house!!). I'd love to volunteer and help out during this situation, but I worry that I may transfer an illness to my babies from these poor rats that were kept in terrible conditions and terribly overbred.

I am traveling to OR and WA twice next month. I was thinking about offering to be part of a rat train to transport rats on my way up. But I have to take two of my rats (my two megacolon rats) with me to ensure they get proper care, I don't trust their special needs with ANYONE else, so I take them with me everywhere I go.

If these rats are ill, they will be sharing air space in a car for 12+ hours. I want to help out if I can, but the idea of the risk of making my babies sick scares me.

Any advice or opinions?
 

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I would imagine the biggest worry will be parasites. But any virus is going to spread if you are all in the same car together.

I did ferret rescue for years and I don't think I would of wanted to bring my own into a bad hoarding situation till the rescues had at least some quarantine to figure out what they may have.

Do you have a vet you trust that can babysit your special needs girls? I had a ferret who's back end was paralyzed so he needed help to use the restroom and I always sent him to my vet tech while gone. She had ferrets herself and loved working with the rescues, so I had a pretty ideal situation then, not sure if you have anything like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for sharing!

Yeah.. I might be much too paranoid of my babies getting ill to do that... I don't even know if they could use a rat train anyway. I'm not sure with all the rats they have, if they have even been able to do anything close to a quarantine. I think as long as they're alive and uninjured or not ill, they're just making sure they have basic supplies before going to try to collect more.

I hope this all works out. Hard to imagine it will with over half a thousand rats to care for and to try to find homes.. Hopefully a lot are able to find good homes.
 

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Contagious rat viruses are rare, but they can be lethal. And the more rats that are brought into contact the higher the chances of disease becomes... When I kept a few tropical fish I never saw too many fish illnesses... Then I started breeding and was bringing in new livestock and shipping out livestock regularly... then things went really badly really quickly. Lets redefine really badly to include catastrophic. Whereas with a few fish the odds are good that you can buy a fish and just drop it into your aquarium and everything will be fine... but when you have hundreds of fish disaster is practically a given. I wound up setting up quarantine tanks and bleaching stations and all sorts of measures to eliminate the problems... And I finally fixed them with policy and effort.... You only need one sick animal to kill thousands... this is why the odds turn against you so fast as the number of animals you handle increases... If 99 out of 100 rats are healthy and you only adopt or handle one rat the odds are 99 to one in your favor, if you handle 101 rats the odds are very much against you and you can wind up with 101 dead or sick rats.

It's hard to explain until you see it... Most rat owners don't quarantine and quite appropriately most get away with it. But having seen how this works up close and personal, I've gotten a real appreciation of epidemiology. It only takes one sick rat to take down 500 and everything they come into contact with. If the shelter isn't using top quality quarantine methods and procedures you would be putting your own rats at risk.

Best luck
 
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