Welfare of exotic pets - evidence: scoping review

Scoping review conducted by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) on the evidence of the welfare of exotic pets in Scotland.

Appendix 1: Zoonotic disease

African pygmy hedgehogs

Zoonotic disease

Hives (contact urticaria)

Fungal skin infections

  • Trycophyton erinacei
  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes


  • Including antibiotic resistant strains


(Rosen, 2000),

(Weishaupt et al., 2014)

(Frantz et al., 2020)

(Perez et al., 2021)


Zoonotic disease

Pasteurella B


(Christensen et al., 2012)


Zoonotic disease

Bite wounds (intraspecific aggression)

Echinococcus multiocularis (tapeworm)

Antibiotic resistance (gut microbes)

Mycobacterium tuberculosis


(Ceccolini et al., 2021)

(Umhang et al., 2013)

(Bornbusch and Drea, 2021)

(LaFleur et al., 2021)

Psittacine birds

Zoonotic disease

Chlamydia psittaci


(Ornelas-Eusebio et al., 2016; Pisanu et al., 2018; Gibson et al., 2019; Jayson et al., 2019)

Eclectus parrots

Zoonotic disease



(Huang et al., 2017)

Harris’ hawks

Zoonotic disease

Campylobacter jejuni

Debaryomyces hansenii (pathogenic yeast causing severe disease in immune-compromised humans)


(De Luca et al., 2018)

(Cafarchia et al., 2006).


Zoonotic disease


  • pathogenic and drug-resistant
  • Salmonella isolated in 80% of reptile-owning households (Sweden)*
  • Increased risk due to live food**



(Weiss et al., 2011)

(Lowther et al., 2011)

*(Wikström et al., 2014) Kiebler et al., 2020;

Zajaç et al., 2021).

(Dróżdż et al., 2021)

**(Marin et al., 2021)

(Masila et al., 2020)

Fire-bellied toads

Zoonotic disease

Toxins cause minor dermal injuries


(Harkewicz, 2004)

(Forrester, 2018)

According to Health Protection Scotland, the most reported non-foodborne zoonotic organisms in Scotland 2015- 2019 were Borrelia burgdorferi (total 1084 cases) and pasteurellosis (1024) (Public Health Scotland, 2020). The number of Salmonella cases, deriving from pet reptiles, was not identified in the report. Despite the ubiquity of Salmonella spp. carried across a wide range of animal, which associate with humans, serovars isolated from reptiles are suggested to be more resistant to human serum and there may be an increased risk of multi drug-resistant Salmonella serovars in reptiles. Resistant isolates belong mostly to the subspecies S. enterica enterica.

Appendix 1 References

Bornbusch, S.L. and Drea, C.M. (2021) “Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Lemur Gut and Soil Microbiota Along a Gradient of Anthropogenic Disturbance,” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.3389/fevo.2021.704070.

Ceccolini, M.E. et al. (2021) “A Retrospective Study Of Bite Wound Management In Ring-tailed Lemurs (lemur Catta) Housed Within Five British Zoos,” Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 52(4). doi:10.1638/2020-0160.

Christensen, H. et al. (2012) “Classification of Pasteurella species B as Pasteurella oralis sp. nov,” International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.035246-0.

Forrester, M.B. (2018) “Pediatric Exposures to Bombina Toads Reported to Poison Centers,” Pediatric Emergency Care, 34(1), pp. 25–26. doi:10.1097/PEC.0000000000000719.

Frantz, T., Rampton, R. and Wohltmann, W. (2020) “Bullous eruption caused by an exotic hedgehog purchased as a household pet,” Cutis. doi:10.12788/cutis.0009.

Gibson, D.J. et al. (2019) “Captive Psittacine Birds in Ontario, Canada: a 19-Year Retrospective Study of the Causes of Morbidity and Mortality,” Journal Of Comparative Pathology, 171, pp. 38–52. doi:10.1016/j.jcpa.2019.07.002.

Harkewicz, K.A. (2004) “Maintenance of Bombina species of frogs,” Seminars In Avian And Exotic Pet Medicine, 13(4), pp. 229–233. doi:10.1053/j.saep.2004.04.009.

Huang, Y.-L. et al. (2017) “Filarial nematode infection in eclectus parrots (Eclectus roratus) in Taiwan,” Avian Pathology, 46(2), pp. 188–194. doi:10.1080/03079457.2016.1237014.

Jayson, S.L. et al. (2019) “Disease surveillance in wild Victorian cacatuids reveals co-infection with multiple agents and detection of novel avian viruses,” Scientific Reports, 6(1), pp. 503–507. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2019.07.012.

LaFleur, M. et al. (2021) “Drug-resistant tuberculosis in pet ring-tailed lemur, Madagascar,” Emerging Infectious Diseases. doi:10.3201/eid2703.202924.

De Luca, C. et al. (2018) “Pet And Captive Birds As Potential Reservoirs Of Zoonotic Bacteria,” Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine. doi:10.1053/j.jepm.2017.10.017.

Ornelas-Eusebio, E. et al. (2016) “First Identification of Chlamydia psittaci in the Acute Illness and Death of Endemic and Endangered Psittacine Birds in Mexico,” Avian Diseases, 60(2), pp. 540–544.

Perez, S., Barreto, M. and Retamal, P. (2021) “Detection of antimicrobial resistant Salmonella enterica strains in samples of ground hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) reared as pets in the urban area of Santiago, Chile,” Austral Journal of Veterinary Sciences. doi:10.4067/S0719-81322021000200133.

Pisanu, B. et al. (2018) “Chlamydia Avium Detection From A Ring-necked Parakeet (psittacula Krameri) In France,” Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine. doi:10.1053/j.jepm.2018.02.035.

Rosen, T. (2000) “Hazardous hedgehogs,” Southern Medical Journal, 93(9), pp. 936–938.

Umhang, G. et al. (2013) “Echinococcus multilocularis infection of a ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) and a nutria (Myocastor coypus) in a French zoo,” Parasitology International. doi:10.1016/j.parint.2013.08.011.

Weishaupt, J. et al. (2014) “A different kind of hedgehog pathway: Tinea manus due to Trichophyton erinacei transmitted by an African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris),” Mycoses. doi:10.1111/myc.12113.

Weiss, B. et al. (2011) “Babies and bearded dragons: Sudden increase in reptile-associated Salmonella enterica serovar tennessee infections, Germany 2008,” Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. doi:10.1089/vbz.2010.0239.


Email: SAWC.Secretariat@gov.scot

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