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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that a few people on this forum also keep rats and just wanted to let you all know that a particularly nasty strain of SDAV virus has pretty much swept England in the last two months. Many rat fanciers have had it and I myself have lost around a quarter of my rats.

If it helps anyone on here if its ok I'd like to cross-post the advice that the NFRS are giving out to all its members, all UK rat clubs and also large pet chains. This advice is written by our Life-President, Ann Storey.

1) rats who get eye symptoms, will get better, honestly. The odd one may lose an eye because they have scratched it however....
2) If you have kittens in the nest they should be ok, and certainly fine to breed with later, plus they will be immune. However weaners are especially at risk. Pregnant does who have not had this infection previously may also become very ill, as their immune response is impaired at this time.
3) Once you have this you don't 'keep getting it back'. Rats only carry this virus for a couple of weeks and are immune post infection.
4) The incubation phase is 4-6 days when the rat will also begin shedding virus. Most rats are improving after 14 days but they stop shedding a few days before this. Rats who are still ill after this point have a secondary infection, probably with mycoplasma, as this infection is activated by SDAV and Sendai.
5) the initial symptoms are sneezing, some never develop any other symptoms. Otherwise rats can go on to get rattles, swollen eyes and neck glands, red and crusty eyes and pneumonia. Secondary problems (not due to the virus itself) are damaged or lost eyes and activated mycoplasma respiratory disease. Death, where it occurs, is usually down to pneumonia.

6) Treatments are mostly supportive and include blanket treatment with soluble asprin in the drinking water for all affected rats to reduce fever and pain (1 tablet in 2 pints), children's Sudafed, bathing the eyes of affected rats with mild saline, abs for the worst affected to help prevent myco, fluid replacement for the worst affected. Very sick rats will need nursing care if they are to stand a chance. I have found that a spot of brandy in sweetened milk can work wonders.

7) It is strongly advised that anyone with rats that they suspect of having this condition stays away from other rats until 14 days after the last rat became ill.

Hope it is ok to post this here

Lisa
 

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I'd just like to ask you another couple of questions if you wouldnt mind.Firstly do you think it would be possible for mice to catch it from rats.Secondly why do you think it has been such a problem for the rat fancy.Do you think it might be because they are more pet orientated and therefore less likely to cull or is it extra contagious.I'd be interested in your thoughts,thanks.I was thinking of buying a couple more rats but I'll leave it for a few months and see how things develop as I would hate to bring in infection to my exsisting rats or horror of horror ruining 5 years of selective breeding in my mice. :shock:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is definitely not contagious to mice, this virus is species specific. My mice have all been fine :)

SDAV virus has been around as long as I can remember and I've been breeding and showing rats for 23 years now and have been assured that it was around before me :) some years the strain of virus floating around is just worse. Its a bit like asking where flu comes from and why some years the strain of flu is worse than other years, the virus mutates and changes constantly to survive.

SDAV is very like the flu virus in humans and there are different strains of it. My rats caught it last year and I hardly noticed, its just that this year it has been stronger.

If you plan to get some more rats I would email [email protected] and get a list of NFRS registered breeders in your area and ask them if they have had the SDAV virus this year. All breeders that I know that have had it have been completely honest and quarantined themselves. I have kittens here that were booked before the virus struck and some people are happy to wait until my quarantine ends and some have gone elsewhere.

I don't mind any questions :) :) so if you have more then ask away and if I don't have the answer I'll find it out for you

Lisa
 
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