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What is a sugar glider?

How do humans become

A sugar glider is a small opossum belonging to
the marsupial family. They are native to
Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, and Infected animals transmit the disease through
Tasmania. They are considered pocket pets urine, feces, blood, and semen which can
because they are small in length and like to be contaminate food, water, and the environment.
carried in pockets or pouches (Sugar, n.d.). They Sugar gliders have scent glands on their
are very social animals that you need to have at genitals, neck, chest, forehead, and around
least 2 of. their mouths. They use these scent glands to
mark certain objects of theirs. Leptospirosis can
What is Leptospirosis? be contracted by touching an object that has
Leptospirosis or Lepto is a disease carried by the been scent marked by an infected sugar glider.
Leptospira bacteria (Gliderpedia, n.d.). It is also Sugar gliders also commonly urinate on
known as yellow fever or Weil’s disease (CDC, whatever they’re climbing on which can include
2013). you (Gliderpedia, n.d.). Lepto usually enters the
Where does the disease occur? body through the mouth or broken skin (CDC,
2013). If you aren’t washing your hands after
Many sugar gliders are transported from cleaning their cage, changing food and water, or
country to country. They are commonly even even just holding your sugar gliders you can be
taken from their natural habitats in the wild. infected (Gliderpedia, n.d.).
Leptospirosis is most commonly found in
tropical areas. “The following areas and/or Who is at highest risk for
countries/continents are known to have the
highest incidences of leptospirosis: Africa, India,
China, Central America, Brazil, Caribbean, South Lepto most commonly affects children but it is
East Asia, and Southern Russia.” (MNT, 2004). considered an occupational hazard for people
Leptospirosis is rare in the United States and who work with animals or outdoors such as pet
found most commonly in Hawaii but you really owners, veterinarians, pet related careers,
don’t know what your glider has come in farmers, slaughterhouse workers, military
contact with or where it came from. personnel, sewer workers, campers, etc. (CDC,
2013). Leptospirosis is also common in many
animals such as sugar gliders, raccoons, skunks,
rats, cows, dogs, and small rodents (Leptoinfo,
What are the symptoms in sugar and several others (NCBI, 2012). Antibiotics are
used to treat Lepto such as ampicillin,
gliders? doxycycline, and penicillin among others (NCBI,
Sugar gliders are usually Asymptomatic 2012).
meaning they don’t show symptoms but they How do you prevent
can have a fever, kidney problems, and liver
problems (Merck, n.d.) Leptospirosis?
What are the symptoms in Whenever you welcome a new pet into your
household it’s recommended to bring them to
humans? the vet to check for diseases that can be
Some people may not show any symptoms at problematic to you or your family. Any type of
all. Symptoms usually come on suddenly and pet with any type of disease should be treated
usually happens in two phases (CDC, 2013). The as soon as possible. Until you know if your new
second phase being more dangerous and can pet is healthy it should be kept away from any
result in kidney failure, liver failure, or other pet to prevent the possible spread of
meningitis. Symptoms take an average of 10 disease. Always wash your hands after handling
days to develop (NCBI, 2012). Common your sugar glider, their belongings, cleaning
symptoms can include: their cage, and handling any of their urine, feces
 Dry cough or blood. If you’ve had a previous pet with
 Fever and chills leptospirosis, properly sanitize anything your
 Headaches that come on suddenly infected pet has come in contact with 1 parts
bleach to 10 parts water bleach solution to
 Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
prevent reinfection (CDC, 2013).
More severe symptoms can include (MNT,
2004): By Hailey David
 Abdominal pain References:
 Enlarged spleen or liver Disorders and Diseases of Sugar Gliders. (2011, July).
Retrieved from
 Muscle tenderness and rigidity
 Conjunctivitis gar_gliders/disorders_and_diseases_of_sugar_gliders.html
 Meningitis Google Images. (n.d.). Retrieved from glider on
 Encephalitis
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Serious cases of Lepto can affect the brain, Leptospirosis. (n.d.). Retrieved from
heart, lung, liver, and kidneys (MNT, 2004).
Leptospirosis can last a few days to months. It is Leptospirosis. (2013). Retrieved from
possible to recover without treatment but this
Leptospirosis. (2012, September 3). Retrieved from
disease can be fatal (CDC, 2013). Especially
when it affects the major organs such as the 2/h
brain and heart. Sugar Gliders - Pocket sized pets. (n.d.). Retrieved from
What is Leptospirosis? (2004). Retrieved from
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Zoonosis. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Leptospirosis is diagnosed through a complete
blood count (CBC), liver enzyme test, urinalysis, sis