There have been four recent cases of verminous pneumonia in red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) in European zoos. A recent study in Europe found many captive red pandas infected with lungworms.1 Previously, lungworm infections have been identified in North American captive red pandas2 but a cogent study of the prevalence of infection had not been done. U.S. and Canadian zoos holding red pandas were solicited to submit fecal samples to the Parasitology Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee (UT CVM), or perform fecal exams on their red pandas, during the summer of 2010. Fifty-seven zoos sent sufficient fecal samples to UT CVM and five zoos performed the fecal exams themselves. Seventy-eight individual red pandas and nine groups of red pandas (situations where zoos were unable to separate animals for individual sampling) were evaluated. Only one red panda was identified as being infected with lungworms. The worms found resembled Crenosoma spp., but the taxonomy of that worm is still under investigation. No Angiostrongylus spp. were seen.
The authors would like to the following zoos for submitting fecal samples or sharing the results of their in-house fecal exams: Akron, Atlanta, Binder Park, Billings, Birmingham, Boise, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Fargo, Franklin Park, Fort Wayne, Garden City, Greenville, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Lansing, Madison, Mill Mountain, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, Norfolk, NY Bronx, Prospect, Oklahoma, Philadelphia, Providence, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, South Bend, Tautphaus, Trevor, Utica, West Orange, Wheeling, Winnipeg, Calgary, Granby, Edmonton Valley Zoo.
1. Bertelsen MF, Meyland-Smith F, Willesen J, Jeffries R, Morgan ER, Monrad J. Diversity and prevalence of metastrongyloid nematodes infecting the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) in European zoos. Vet Parasitol. 2010;172:299–302.
2. Montali RJ, Roberts M, Freeman RA, Bush M. Pathology survey of red panda (Ailurus fulgens). In: Ryder O, Byrd M, eds. One Medicine. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 1984:128–140.