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What Vaccines Does Your Rodent Need?

By: Dr. Lani Steinohrt

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None! Vaccination is not performed in pet rodents, since very few vaccines are commercially available to protect them against contagious diseases. Rabies vaccination, which is commonly performed in other pet mammals, is not necessary in pet rodents because they have not been shown to be susceptible to the rabies virus. The best protection against contracting and spreading infectious diseases is to quarantine any newly acquired rodent for 30 days. Quarantine means to isolate (in individual cages) all new individuals from established pets. This practice prevents the immediate spread of a contagious disease that the new pet may be carrying. Usually, symptoms of illness will show up within the 30 days if the new pet is carrying a contagious disease.

Despite the lack of available vaccines, periodic "well pet" veterinary visits are still important. During these veterinary visits, physical examination and body weight measurement can perhaps detect subtle symptoms of disease. Also, new information is constantly being discovered about the best ways to care for your pet, and your veterinarian will be able to discuss these ideas with you in person at exam times. Since the lifespans of most pet rodents are relatively short, "well pet" veterinary exams for pet rodents should be scheduled every 6 to 12 months.

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