Three Diseases Sugar Gliders Can Spread And How To Protect Yourself

Posted on: 2 September 2016

Sugar gliders are popular exotic pets in the United States, but like other exotic species, they can spread diseases to their owners. Fortunately, you can take precautions to keep yourself safe from your new furry friend. Here are three diseases sugar gliders can spread and how to protect yourself.


Salmonellosis is caused by Salmonella bacteria. You can get salmonellosis from undercooked meats and contaminated produce, but you can also get it from your new sugar glider. Generally, this illness will give you diarrhea and stomach cramps for four to seven days. Most people will recover, but since it's unpleasant, prevention is best.

Sugar gliders are carriers of Salmonella, and the bacteria can be found in their feces and on their bodies. To keep yourself safe, always wash your hands with soap and water after cuddling your pet or cleaning their cage. Airborne transmission can also occur, so for extra safety, wear a facemask during cage cleanings.


Giardiasis is an intestinal infection that's caused by a parasite known as Giardia. This infection leads to watery or greasy diarrhea as well as abdominal cramps, and you may feel sick for as long as six weeks. If the diarrhea is severe, you may become dehydrated and need intravenous fluids.

One study showed that 13.4% of captive sugar gliders carried this parasite, so to be safe, you should assume that your new pet carries it and take appropriate precautions. Infected sugar gliders pass this parasite in their feces, so it's a good idea to wear gloves while you're cleaning their cage. Afterwards, wash your hands thoroughly.


Leptospirosis is a serious infection caused by Leptospira, a type of bacteria. It leads to flu-like symptoms like a fever, chills, abdominal pain and headache. In some cases, people can develop a more serious stage of leptospirosis once the flu-like symptoms clear up, and this can include meningitis or kidney failure.

Fortunately, sugar gliders that have leptospirosis will show symptoms like a fever and kidney problems, so you don't need to worry about getting it from a healthy sugar glider. If your vet diagnoses your pet with leptospirosis, you'll need to take precautions. The bacteria can spread through your pet's urine and feces, so wear a mask and gloves during cage cleanings. If you cuddle your sick pet to comfort them, change into uncontaminated clothes immediately afterwards. If your glider urinates on you during cuddle time, have a shower.

Sugar gliders can spread a lot of diseases to their owners, but as long as you take precautions, you don't need to get sick from your new friend. If you're worried that your pet has a disease you could catch, take them to a vet for treatment.

For more information, contact Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists & 24-Hour Emergency Hospital or a similar location.