Last Modified

January 4, 2024 by Umair Shahid

Sugar gliders have become quite popular as pets, but their health requires attention. If you have a sugar glider or are considering getting one, you probably wonder about its diseases. Sugar gliders can indeed carry various diseases, such as Aflatoxicosis, Pasteurellosis, and Polioencephalomalacia, to name a few. On top of that, they are susceptible to conditions like obesity-related heart and liver diseases, urinary tract infections, and dental problems. 

Additionally, there’s a potential risk of transmitting diseases like Salmonellosis to humans. To ensure the well-being of both you and your furry friend, it’s crucial to be aware of these health risks.

What Diseases Do Sugar Gliders Carry

Can Sugar Gliders Carry Diseases?

Certainly, sugar gliders carry diseases, and it’s essential to be aware of potential risks, especially for humans and other pets. These diseases can spread through various means like bites, feces, and direct contact. Sugar gliders may harbor various bacteria, including Pasteurella multocida, staphylococci, streptococci, mycobacteria, and clostridia. 

They can also carry bacteria that can affect humans, such as Salmonella, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Leptospira, and Toxoplasma species. To minimize the risk, thorough handwashing after handling or cleaning their enclosures is crucial.

Aside from bacterial concerns, sugar gliders can also carry parasites, with an estimated 10% having them, which can be transmitted through their feces. Wearing gloves while cleaning their cages is a wise precaution. 

Although sugar gliders can potentially transmit diseases to other pets, this is uncommon due to their unique care needs, limiting interactions with other animals. It’s important to clarify that while sugar gliders can carry diseases, it doesn’t necessarily mean owners will fall ill. 

Adhering to proper handling practices, maintaining hygiene, and providing adequate care significantly reduce the risk of disease transmission. Regular veterinary check-ups further aid in early detection and treatment of potential health issues.

Common Diseases in Sugar Gliders

Sugar gliders, these petite marsupials from Australia, can face a range of health challenges. One concern is Aflatoxicosis, a liver ailment triggered by consuming aflatoxins in certain foods like corn and peanuts. 

This can bring about issues like loss of appetite, anemia, jaundice, lethargy, and troubles with the digestive system. Although constipation is not very common, it can arise from factors like insufficient water or fiber intake, stress, lack of exercise, or problems in the digestive system. Symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting might indicate various illnesses, including bacterial infections and parasitic diseases.

Eye problems in sugar gliders are often linked to dental issues. Another potential threat is Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease. Actinomycosis, also known as lumpy jaw, is a bacterial infection that can enter facial tissues through trauma, surgery, or infection. 

Obesity, often caused by a high-calorie diet and lack of exercise, can lead to heart and liver diseases. Pasteurellosis, a bacterial infection that can transfer from rabbits to sugar gliders, poses a risk of sudden death.

Polioencephalomalacia, a neurological disorder, may also impact sugar gliders, with a generally poor prognosis in many cases. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can manifest, showing symptoms like hematuria, stranguria, and dysuria. 

Dental problems, such as broken or loose teeth, can result in eye abnormalities and are a common reason for sugar glider health issues. Metabolic bone disease can occur due to nutritional imbalances, especially related to calcium intake. Regular veterinary check-ups play a vital role in detecting and addressing these potential health concerns early on.

Can Sugar Gliders Get Sick From Humans?

Indeed, sugar gliders can potentially fall ill if exposed to human illnesses, although the chances and severity of such transmission can differ. While some sources suggest that sugar gliders may not easily catch cold or flu viruses from humans, others indicate the possibility of them contracting illnesses. 

It’s crucial to understand that there isn’t extensive research on the transmission of diseases from humans to sugar gliders, and the available information is somewhat limited and based on personal accounts.

However, it’s generally advised to maintain good hygiene when dealing with sugar gliders, especially if the handler is unwell. This involves thoroughly washing hands before and after interacting with the animal, avoiding close contact when the handler is sick, and ensuring the cleanliness of the sugar glider’s living space.

Additionally, it’s essential to be aware that sugar gliders can carry and transmit diseases to humans, including Salmonella, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Leptospira, and Toxoplasma species. Therefore, practicing good hygiene is not only beneficial for the sugar glider’s health but also crucial for the well-being of the human handler.

If a sugar glider displays signs of illness, such as changes in behavior, loss of appetite, or physical symptoms, it’s advisable to promptly seek veterinary care. A veterinarian with expertise in sugar gliders can offer appropriate care and treatment.

Can Sugar Gliders Transmit Diseases to Humans?

Certainly, sugar gliders have the potential to pass diseases to humans. These are called zoonotic diseases, which can move between animals and humans. Sugar gliders have been identified as carriers of various potentially harmful pathogens, including Salmonella, Leptospira, and Toxoplasma species.

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Salmonellosis, resulting from Salmonella bacteria, is a common disease that sugar gliders can transmit to humans. The bacteria are present in the feces and on the bodies of sugar gliders. Humans can contract salmonellosis through direct contact with the animal or its feces, leading to symptoms like diarrhea and stomach cramps. 

Besides Salmonella, sugar gliders can also carry other potentially harmful bacteria like Escherichia coli, Campylobacter spp., Pseudomonas spp., Klebsiella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Yersinia enterocolitica. These bacteria can cause various illnesses in humans, ranging from gastrointestinal issues to more severe systemic infections.

To reduce the risk of disease transmission, it’s advisable to practice good hygiene when dealing with sugar gliders. This involves thorough handwashing before and after interacting with the animal, avoiding close contact when the handler is unwell, and ensuring the cleanliness of the sugar glider’s living space. If a sugar glider displays signs of illness, seeking prompt veterinary care is recommended.

It’s crucial to understand that although sugar gliders can carry these pathogens, not all of them are carriers, and not everyone who comes into contact with sugar gliders will fall ill. With proper care and hygiene practices, the risk of disease transmission can be significantly minimized.

Can Sugar Gliders Get Mites?

Yep, sugar gliders can catch mites, but it’s not something that happens a lot, especially if they’re kept as pets. These little guys have thick fur, which makes it tough for mites to bother them. But, if a sugar glider does end up with mites, you can fix it using powders like pyrethrin carbaryl, or selamectin.

You’ve got to treat both their cozy spot and the little buddy itself to make sure all the mites are gone. Oh, and besides mites, sugar gliders can also pick up other uninvited guests like nematodes and a parasite called Giardia. Visits to the vet and keeping things clean can help stop these problems before they become a big deal.

Preventing Diseases in Sugar Gliders

Ensuring the well-being of sugar gliders is crucial for their health and long life. Regular check-ups with a vet play a vital role in keeping them healthy. During these check-ups, the vet keeps an eye on their weight, looks for signs of sickness, and provides any needed vaccinations or treatments. Finding health issues early on often leads to better treatment and outcomes.

Maintaining a proper diet and ensuring regular exercise are also key in preventing obesity and related diseases in sugar gliders. They need a well-balanced diet with fruits, veggies, and proteins while steering clear of fatty and sugary foods to prevent issues like heart and liver diseases. Keeping them active with activities like climbing and gliding helps them stay at a healthy weight and promotes overall well-being.

Hygiene practices are another essential part of disease prevention. Regularly cleaning the glider’s cage and toys helps prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria and parasites. Simple acts, such as washing hands before and after handling the sugar glider, can also go a long way in stopping the spread of diseases like Salmonellosis. Taking these steps keeps our furry friends in good shape and happy.

Conclusion

It’s crucial to know about the diseases sugar gliders might have if you’re thinking about having these special marsupials as pets. These little buddies can carry different illnesses like Aflatoxicosis, Pasteurellosis, and Polioencephalomalacia. 

They’re also at risk for heart and liver diseases from being overweight, along with urinary tract infections and dental problems. Plus, there’s a chance they could pass on diseases like Salmonellosis to us humans.

Being a responsible pet owner means more than just giving them a loving home. It’s about making sure they stay healthy too. That involves regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, enough exercise, and keeping things clean. By doing these things, you’re cutting down the chances of diseases spreading and making sure your sugar gliders have a happy, healthy life.

Keep in mind, that having a pet is a big commitment. It takes time, energy, and money. Before bringing a sugar glider into your home, make sure you’re ready to meet their special needs and give them the care they deserve.

Author 2

I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.

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