If you have been following our efforts to eliminate Streptobacillus moniliformis (SBM), the bacteria that causes Rat Bite Fever, we have some incredibly encouraging developments to share.
We were spurred into action at the beginning of 2021 after our annual serology tests came back with some not such good news. We had discussions with Charles River Labs about our results and received clarification on what they really mean for our rattery. We then took steps to test for SBM, which unfortunately came back positive.
Further talks with Charles River illuminated the possibility of ridding our colony of SBM through cross-fostering, so we made the decision to give it a try. Fast forward several months and several foster litters later, our first foster litter of Black Eyed Siamese turned twelve weeks, old enough for serology testing. Their biological mom had tested negative for SBM, and so did their foster Mom once the babies turned 8 weeks old, so we felt it unneccessary to retest for that. The following screenshots are the initial serology from EVO's colony, and the first serology of the BES Foster Litter.
We are cautiously optimistic that we can replicate these 100% CLEAN serology results with subsequent foster litters. This is potentially HUGE for the rat breeding community and future pet owners. Being able to rid our colonies of pathogens that exacerbate upper respiratory illness would significantly reduce occurences and severity, leading to much healther pets for our adopters.
REMEMBER: we need to confirm our findings with subsequent foster litters before breaking out the champagne!
With regard to SBM infection. We have had one litter that was born to an SBM positive mom test CLEAN! But... we also had a second litter test positive. We are discussing these outcomes with Charles River to see if our procedures need to be tweaked. This is still extremely encouraging and has breathed some fresh energy into our project, and will finally give us some clean rats to offer for adoption.