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Importance of quarantine2014-03-17

Experienced herp keepers are certainly familiar with the concept of quarantine, however most beginners barely know about it and even less are able to apply it. This next article is dedicated for the quarantine process...

The main purpose of quarantine is to prevent the introduction and spread of contagious diseases in animal stocks. When acquiring a first pet, obviously there are no others for the new one to infect. However, any additional newcomers will be a potential source of infections for the existing specimen(s). Consequently, a strict quarantine process should be applied to every freshly acquired snakes.

Although, quarantine normally applies to newcomers, any other animals being suspecious of diseases should be put in quarantine, as well.

As a rule of thumb, during the daily caring routine, animals in quarantine must be handled as last. By doing so, you can avoid dragging along infections from the quarantine to the healthy stock.

What do you need for quarantining?

Animals in quarantine must be housed in separate cages, preferably individually, in an isolated room from the basic stock if possible. To be easy to clean and disinfect are minimum requirements for quarantine cages. Plastic boxes and plastic cages, maybe glass cages are typically the best for that purpose. Wooden cages can not be disinfected, therefore are not suitable and must not be used as quarantine.

Quaraintine cages should contain only the essentials, such as white paper towels, maybe newspapers, a drinking dish with fresh tap water, a replaceable/disinfectable hidding place. Any other accessories that would make disinfections complicated are unwanted in a quarantine cage.

Separate equipments (tweezers, hooks, gloves, etc.) must be used only for quarantine animals. Those must not be used to handle the rest of the stock and should be disinfected after use.

What to use to disinfect?

Alcohol based products, like Mikrozid should be used as disinfectants. I have been using Mikrozid, which has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal effects to disinfect plastic cages, equipments, accessories for several years. After spraying it on the surface, you have to wait about 3-5 mins for the maximum effect. Then those accessories must be washed with clean tap water. Disinfectants must not contact or be used directly on the animals, though.

How long a quarantine period should apply?

Quarantine period is typically 30 days long at least. However, I definitely suggest a longer duration. As some contagious diseases have a latency of months or even years, those can not be detected in such a short period and may lead you to introduce an infected animal to your collection in the misbelief it is a healthy addition.

If any health issues turn up during the quarantine, animals must be given a proper treatment and quarantine period should restart.

Finally, once quarantine period has successfully expired with no illness occuring and proper health status has been confirmed, newcomers can be introduced to the stock with minimal-to-none risk to your collection.

Botond Ádám

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