7 Most Common Diseases from Red Pandas (Explained!)

Whenever I see a red panda I feel like petting it. But I’m afraid that red pandas carry diseases. 

Here’s what you need to know – Red pandas do carry diseases!

Most of the germs carried by the red panda are harmless to you.  However, there are a few germs that can make you sick.

In this article, I will discuss the 7 diseases carried by red pandas. 

So let’s start! 

Table of Contents


Rabies is a deadly sickness that is caused by a virus. Red panda can get this if it gets bitten or scratched by another mammal with the rabies virus. The sickness starts within a few weeks of the infection.

Once a red panda is infected with the virus, it multiplies in the body. When the infected animal bites another, the virus is spread from the saliva. If you get infected, you can also get sick from rabies very quickly

The most common sign of this disease is a fear of water, called hydrophobia. Without proper treatment, this can be a fatal disease.

The only way to cure yourself if you are sick with rabies is to treat it within 10 days. Vaccines are also available that can help to prevent the sickness. 


This disease infects the intestine in a region called the colon. This sickness can be caused by a bacterial germ called Clostridium.

Germ often spreads through the poop of infected animals. Red pandas can get this infection from other animals near them.

When the poop of the infected animal contacts food, the germ from the poop can enter the body. The germ can also infect you and make you sick.

When this happens, you might experience symptoms like stomach pain, loss of appetite, and fever. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor right away. 

Since the sickness spreads through contamination of food and hands, it is important to wash raw food thoroughly before eating. This would clean any germ on the surface that might otherwise get inside our bodies.

However, if you are already infected, the doctors will give you antibiotics to kill the bacteria. 


This is actually a rare kind of sickness that affects the heart. This can be caused by a bacterial germ called lactobacillus. This germ spreads from the dead bodies of other animals. 

When this germ contaminates food or the hand, it can get inside a healthy person.

Red pandas can get infected by this germ when they eat food that is contaminated. However, since this germ only passes from the body of a dead animal, this is a rare type of infection. 

It can get into the hands of anyone petting a red panda. The fur of wild animals often gets easily contaminated with many germs as they are in the wild.

This is how germs can spread from cute little animals like the red panda. If you are sick from the disease, you might feel intense fever and tiredness.

In more serious conditions, there can be heart problems. It is important to see the doctor immediately. As this sickness is caused by bacteria, you need to get antibiotics.

However, if the sickness has caused damage to the heart, an operation might also be needed. 

The best strategy, therefore, is to prevent the risk of infection. Properly following hand hygiene and washing all raw food is very important.

Zoonotic Tuberculosis

Zoonotic Tuberculosis is a sickness caused by a type of bacterial germ called Mycobacterium. This germ can spread through the air, water, or food. 

Red pandas too can get infected with Zoonotic Tuberculosis. It is most likely that the red pandas get the bacteria from other animals, including other infected pandas. 

This is often more frequent when the red pandas are kept in captivity. The infected ones pass on the infection to the healthy ones around them.

Zookeepers have the fun job of working closely with the red pandas, from feeding them to giving them showers. However, they too are at risk of being infected by the disease. 

Similarly, anyone petting this little furry friend is also at risk of getting infected.

If you fall sick due to Zoonotic Tuberculosis, you may experience feeling tired and difficulty in breathing.

The only way to cure Zoonotic Tuberculosis is to kill the bacterial germ causing the disease. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to kill the disease-causing bacteria. 

Additionally, you might also need oxygen if breathing becomes very difficult.


Another disease that red pandas are likely to carry is Ringworm. They get the fungus from other infected ones when they get in physical contact. This is especially seen in the case of red pandas that are living in captivity.

Ringworm is an infection of the skin caused by fungal germs. If you get this fungus, you are most likely to develop skin rashes that are itchy and red. The rashes often also have a scaly appearance like that of a fish. 

Washing hands is absolutely necessary after being in close contact with red pandas. If the symptoms of the disease appear, it is important to see a doctor immediately. 

Red Pandas can also have the same symptoms as we do, such as skin rashes that are red and scaly. It is also possible that red pandas feel a lot of discomfort. 

The fungus-causing ringworm can spread from red pandas to humans on contact. Any surface of the skin that is exposed can be infected by the fungus. 

Ringworms can be cured by using a class of medications called antifungals. Most antifungals are available as an ointment cream that can be applied to the affected area.  


Salmonellosis is a sickness that is spread by a bacterial germ called salmonella. These bacteria live in the intestines of many types of animals like reptiles, cows, and chickens. 

The infection spreads from little drops of mucus that we breathe out. 

This sickness can also spread from food that is not properly covered and is contaminated with bacteria. When food like meat or leafy vegetables is not properly cleaned before eating, it can also cause sickness. 

The sickness, therefore, uses the pathway of the mouth and stomach to enter the healthy body. The sickness causes symptoms like dehydration, loose motion, and stomach pain.

Usually, red pandas can get infected with the disease from other infected pandas. Red pandas bred in captivity easily transmit the disease to healthy animals and humans.

When they eat food that is contaminated by bacteria they can get infected easily. Another way the red panda can get infected is by coming in contact with the poop of another red panda that is already infected. 

Once the red panda is infected with this salmonella germ, it multiplies inside the body of the animal and causes signs of sickness.

This also shows why it is important to maintain hygiene to reduce contamination. Note that this bacteria can also infect other humans.

Not just zoo keepers, but also visitors, especially when having close encounters with red pandas. This sickness can be cured using antibiotics that kill the bacteria that cause salmonellosis. 


Giardiasis is another disease that can spread from an infected red panda to you. This sickness is spread by a parasitic germ that infects the intestine.

Once you have been infected, you are likely to experience diarrhea. The parasite attaches itself to the walls of the intestine and starts to grow and make copies of itself.

This parasite remains within the intestine. Unlike other germs, they do not travel in the bloodstream.

Instead, they remain in the intestine and feed on the nutrients of the host body. You might also experience fast weight loss and pain in the abdomen.

In rare cases, there might be blood in your poop. These symptoms start within three weeks of the infection.

Red pandas can get infected with this sickness when they come in contact with the parasite through contaminated food. This parasite can live in many mammals like sheep, cows, mice, and beavers. 

Thus, any of these animals who are infected and live close to red pandas can transfer the sickness to them. Also, it can spread from other red pandas that are infected with the parasite. 

Eventually, the red pandas too can get very sick with this disease just like us and have the same symptoms as well.

This disease can be cured using antiparasitic medicine that needs to be taken for 10 days. This medicine kills the parasitic germ causing the sickness. However, the best strategy is to take preventative measures. 

You can follow proper hygiene methods like washing hands properly to prevent the parasite from entering your body.

The doctors can also give medicines to reduce stomach pain if you are experiencing a lot of discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Red pandas can get infected with many diseases and spread them to you if you come in contact with them. 

Some of the most common diseases that red pandas can carry and can make us sick are rabies, colitis, endocarditis, zoonotic tuberculosis, ringworm, salmonellosis, and giardiasis.

All these illnesses happen due to different types of germs that live on red pandas. Even though most germs are harmless to you, some germs can still make you very sick.

Following proper safety precautions such as washing hands properly after petting a red panda can prevent infection.

Do you know despite the diseases red pandas carry, they are very important? Read 13 Reasons Why Red Pandas Are Important to find out! 


Ringworm (Dermatophytosis)