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Old 02-21-2013, 03:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Allergies to hedgehogs??

I have a little boy hedgie that is almost a year old now. The question I have is: is it possible that I'm allergic to him?

If I take him out to play, or to cuddle, he tends to make me sneeze and my eyes water (even for hours after I put him back away). It started when he was about 6-7 months old. I switched his litter after the kind I bought ran out, about a month of thinking that it was the bedding, thinking that it was the dust from it that irritated my allergies. I could tell that it wasn't as bad after I switched this, but I still have these symptoms after holding him. I have never seen him annoint, so I'm not sure that he just started doing this and that is what's causing it. I was fine with him (and the first kind of bedding) for about 2-3 months, then I just gradually became a sneezing mess.

Do hedgehogs go through "puberty" and start developing different oils/dander or something like that after they hit a certain stage in their life? I love him to death and I don't plan on giving him up (even if I am allergic). I was just wondering if it's possible to be allergic to him when I've never been allergic to any animal (or anything) ever. I'm currently taking Zyrtec before/after holding him to lessen the symptoms. I talked to my doctor about it, but she wasn't sure without some extensive (and almost guaranteed inconclusive) testing.

Any advice?
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allergies to hedgehogs??

You can develop allergies to hedgehogs over time. One of my friends on here, Immortalia, has developed allergies to her hedgie boy, to the point where she has to wear gloves to clean his cage/wheel, etc. and she has to take allergy pills.

If you want to make sure that it's nothing else, I'd suggest changing his bedding to fleece liners and washing them with non-scented, non-dyed detergent and softener. Also check his food - did you change his food around the point you became allergic? Sometimes you can be allergic to what the animal's eating. It could just be that you've developed allergies to him, though, unfortunately.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allergies to hedgehogs??

I had a hedgehog several years ago and never had a problem. When I brought Daisy, my new hedgehog home I noticed the same thing, sneezing like crazy, runny nose, itchy eyes, etc. It has actually gotten better though thankfully. I bathe her fairly regularly which I think helps and I wash my hands after I hold her, try not to rub my eyes and so forth. All of that seems to help.
I also get really itchy when she prickles me with her spines and get little whelts, but I just wash my hands and a few min. later it is fine.

I certainly think it could be the saliva from him anointing - I say that because I am also allergic to cats and they say it isn't the skin flakes per se, but the saliva that people get allergic to.

Good luck - and you might try Allegra. I find it works very well for pet allergies.
-Susan H.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allergies to hedgehogs??

Yes alergies does happend. I developed one about 1 year intoo owning Litchi. I would have to put on Benadryl cream anywhere she touched me (even over my clothes), cause I would break out in hives. That didn't work 100%... Then, more recently, I would have to take alergy pills (even Benadryl) before doing their cages and sometimes it just wouldn't work and my eyes where watery/itching like crazy. That never stop me form having one, or getting another, but now it got worst and that's part of the reason I didn't get another, maybe when I'll have a boyfriend & he wants one too.
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