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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-07-2011 11:27 AM
lehaley
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

I'm going to have to second the claim that Zyrtec works wonders. I'm allergic to cats, plus a lot of seasonal outdoors stuff and Zyrtec really helps me. I take it religiously during certain times of the year and before I go to a house with cats. I buy the version with the decongestant (The one that you usually have to go up to the pharmacy counter to ask for, since apparently everyone assumes you're buying it to make copious amounts of meth. Yep, you caught me. ). Don't even bother trying the version you can just grab off the shelf yourself because I've found it to be completely useless. I also buy the generic brands, because the price difference is huge and I haven't noticed a difference between the generic and the brand name.

However, like Nancy mentioned, there's a chance your symptoms are coincidental and actually not caused by Milly at all. I have terrible allergies this time of year because the weather keeps fluctuating so much (yay midwest), so it's really hard to pin down exactly what is causing me to be a sniffly, sneezy mess right now.

Hopefully you can find something that works for you, because it would be a shame to have to decide between suffering through icky symptoms and losing Milly.
10-07-2011 11:07 AM
shaelikestaquitos
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

I am allergic to Kashi, but I've found ways to deal with it. For example, I give him foot baths frequently (the pee/poo irritates my skin) and baths once every 2-3 weeks. I find this helps reduce the amount of irritation. I also keep his cage spotless because it's in my room, and if it gets dirty I'll start sneezing, etc like crazy!

Otherwise, handling your hedgehog more often, I find, helps. On weeks that I handle Kashi more, I notice there is less and less irritation... and on weeks when I handle him less, I find there is more irritation... so yeah... I hope that helps ^_^
10-07-2011 04:21 AM
hanhan27
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

That is a very good point, Nancy. Thanks for bringing that up! Maybe I will see how things go in the next couple weeks, since ragweed season is finally dying down.
10-06-2011 06:06 PM
Nancy
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

Remember that allergies are cumulative which means right now you might be overloaded with things you are allergic to, but perhaps once ragweed season is over, you may find Milly doesn't bother you very much or not at all. A air purifier seems to help for many people so might be worth looking into.
10-06-2011 05:55 PM
hanhan27
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cylaura
Do you take any sort of allergy medication already, since you mentioned having allergic reactions to your cats? I have pretty bad seasonal allergies (just to plants/pollen, no animals) and I take Claritin-D (the kind you have to get behind the pharmacy counter) and use a Rx nasal spray (Flonase) every day. This helps a lot with my day-to-day symptoms, although I don't have any trouble with hives or any other skin issues.

And now, for some medical-nerd speak about allergies and allergy treatments.

The kind of treatment you're talking about (allergy shots) requires a test to see if you actually are allergic to the specific allergen (i.e. the hedgehog dander or saliva) first. These types of tests, usually done by pricking your skin or testing your blood, measure your immune system's reaction to various allergens via IgE levels. IgE (immunoglobulin E) are antibodies produced by your immune system that are specific to the allergen. The higher your IgE level for say, cat dander, the more severe your allergic response - sneezing, runny nose, hives, etc. What is actually happening is that the high amounts of IgE in your system are stimulating other immune system cells to release histamines, which, while helping to rid the body of the allergen, also cause most allergy symptoms. This is why most allergy medicines are marketed as anti-histamines.

Point being: I highly doubt most doctors have a stock of hedgehog-specific IgE on hand, so it will be hard to test if you are conclusively allergic to hedgehogs or not. Also, allergy shots are very time consuming (you usually have to go for several visits in the beginning, and every few months afterward) and expensive. But, they are probably the most effective treatment for severe allergies, since they attack the route cause, and not just the symptoms.

If I were you, I would meet with an allergist and see what they think. There are lots of prescription options out there, which would be a good first step, if you aren't taking anything already. And hygiene is super important - make sure you wash your hands (and arms) a lot to keep any excess fur or skin off of you when you're not playing with Milly. I'm sure there are also topical creams you can buy to help with any swelling/itching on your skin.

I hope this helps! My apologies if you're already fluent in the science-y stuff.
No worries! I know what happens in the body when it comes to allergies, but you gave me a lot of info I didn't know, too.

I was taking Claritin-D and a nasal inhaler (Veramyst I think it's called) last month for my allergy to ragweed. I think I may continue doing this.

As of right now, I have really good health insurance because my mom works for the State of WI, but our governor really screwed the state workers over and she plans on retiring in January. It would be kind of silly to start seeing an allergist and getting the shots if I won't be able to afford it in a few months. Which stinks.

I'm mostly upset because the only things I am allergic to are cats, ragweed and Amoxicillin. I doubt Milly has much cat dander/saliva, ragweed or amoxicillin on her lol, so it has to be her that I am allergic to.

Milly is safe - I would never re-home her due to something that is my fault, especially since I can help myself with meds and better hand/arm washing techniques.

I wonder if hand sanitizer would be just as effective as washing?

Thanks for all the help! It's much appreciated and I hope changing my daily routine a little will help relieve the eye watering and nose running!
10-06-2011 04:10 PM
shawnwk1
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

you were given some great advice already. i have BAD allergies to mine to the point where it is hard for me to breathe around my boys, but basically i just have to deal with it right now and thanks to the help of others on here have maybe finally figured out the cause and am working on some changes to help it some, but i am on both several prescription allergy meds and inhalers and occasionally over the counter meds as well when needed. seeing a doctor may help to figure out exactly what is causing it as was mentioned (urine, feces, something in their food (fish, grain, etc.)) so you can also try to change how you handle them or change out food or what have you in order to better handle the allergies, but more than likely it is something that you may have to always deal with.
10-06-2011 03:57 PM
Christemo
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

I'm allergic to everything on Earth, and the best thing I've found to work are Zyrtec (over the counter) or Xyzal (prescription, more concentrated Zyrtec). They work great on seasonals, too!
10-06-2011 12:18 PM
cylaura
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

Do you take any sort of allergy medication already, since you mentioned having allergic reactions to your cats? I have pretty bad seasonal allergies (just to plants/pollen, no animals) and I take Claritin-D (the kind you have to get behind the pharmacy counter) and use a Rx nasal spray (Flonase) every day. This helps a lot with my day-to-day symptoms, although I don't have any trouble with hives or any other skin issues.

And now, for some medical-nerd speak about allergies and allergy treatments.

The kind of treatment you're talking about (allergy shots) requires a test to see if you actually are allergic to the specific allergen (i.e. the hedgehog dander or saliva) first. These types of tests, usually done by pricking your skin or testing your blood, measure your immune system's reaction to various allergens via IgE levels. IgE (immunoglobulin E) are antibodies produced by your immune system that are specific to the allergen. The higher your IgE level for say, cat dander, the more severe your allergic response - sneezing, runny nose, hives, etc. What is actually happening is that the high amounts of IgE in your system are stimulating other immune system cells to release histamines, which, while helping to rid the body of the allergen, also cause most allergy symptoms. This is why most allergy medicines are marketed as anti-histamines.

Point being: I highly doubt most doctors have a stock of hedgehog-specific IgE on hand, so it will be hard to test if you are conclusively allergic to hedgehogs or not. Also, allergy shots are very time consuming (you usually have to go for several visits in the beginning, and every few months afterward) and expensive. But, they are probably the most effective treatment for severe allergies, since they attack the route cause, and not just the symptoms.

If I were you, I would meet with an allergist and see what they think. There are lots of prescription options out there, which would be a good first step, if you aren't taking anything already. And hygiene is super important - make sure you wash your hands (and arms) a lot to keep any excess fur or skin off of you when you're not playing with Milly. I'm sure there are also topical creams you can buy to help with any swelling/itching on your skin.

I hope this helps! My apologies if you're already fluent in the science-y stuff.
10-05-2011 11:26 PM
Re: Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

Sadly as you know some people do develop bad allergies to hedgehogs and need to rehome them due to the issues.

I will post a quote from another recent post from Nancy:

Quote:
Sadly it sounds like you are allergic, especially to his poop or urine. As I have mentioned before to other people, I was allergic to my Smokey's urine. Lucky for me he was totally pee trained and as long as I replace the paper towel in his litter box daily, I was fine.

Do you have allergies to anything, foods, weeds, pollen, perfume, or anything at all? I know of a couple of people who were allergic to their hedgehog when the hedgehog was eating certain foods. For the one person, she was allergic to wheat and grains so changing hedgies food and she was fine.

Can you figure out if it is urine or poop that bothers you? Babies tend to have much stronger smelling urine and poop than adults and as he becomes an adult your symptoms may lessen but respiratory allergies, especially asthma is not something you want to wait too long on.

Is there someone in your home that could take him out and let him get his potty business over with before you handle him?

As a very long shot, there are products, usually made for ferrets that you can put in their water that will help control the odor from feces and urine. I don't know exactly what it does but it has helped some ferret people who were allergic to their ferrets business. It might be worth a try. It's called BiOdor or something like that.
Obviously the stool part does not seem to apply it might be worth discussing with a physician to see if anything can be done.
10-05-2011 11:19 PM
hanhan27
Probable allergy to hedgehogs - Allergy treatments?

Well... I am pretty certain that I am allergic to hedgehogs.

About a month ago now, I had Milly out and was giving her mealworms. She was lying on my arm in her blankie and I was tweezering mealies out of the container and dropping them in her blankie in front of her. In her mealworm-induced frenzy, she accidentally bit my arm when she was going after a worm that wiggled out of the tweezers. Within a minute or two, the tiny little teeth marks had turned into huge dime sized welts. It was really uncomfortable, and ever since then my eyes get all itchy and my nose runs after I handle Milly. The reaction I seem to have developed to her isnt nearly as bad as my reaction to cats, but its annoying and uncomfortable.

I know there is such a thing as allergy treatments (where a dr. injects a little bit of what you are allergic to into your system and it helps your body learn not to over-react to that certain thing)... Do you think they could do this for a hedgehog allergy? I know it sounds strange, but I figure if they can do it for cats, dogs and horses that they could possibly do it for hedgehogs?

Any thoughts or knowledge on this?

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