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Old 07-28-2012, 10:04 PM Canada
Johannie86 Johannie86 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Saguenay, Quebec
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Default Hedgehog allergies?

Hi guys!
I know hedgehogs are supposed to be hypoallergenic, but I'd like to know if anyone has ever heard of and hedgehog allergy?
I got my hedgehog in septembre. In january I got a sinusitis. I saw a doctor for this in march, she gave me antibiotics and some other meds, no luck, it didn't go. I moved since then. I then started to suspect allergies. I realized the days I take my hedgehog, my symptoms are more important. I have urticaria on the skin in contact with him. I don't believe I could be allergic to the bedding, because I use Yesterday's news.
So, does anyone has hedgehog allergies or knows someone who does?
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:59 PM United States
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Kalandra Kalandra is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,267
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People can and people have been allergic to hedgehogs I have a couple of friends who do rescue work and I know they have received a few over the years because their owners were reportedly allergic to them. I have also seen quite a number that have been advertised in the classifieds here and elsewhere as needing a new home immediately because they were causing severe asthma attacks in their owners.

I also know one individual that blamed the hedgehog, gave up the hedgehog and later found out later it wasn't the hedgehog at all. I think the hedgehog just added to the problem that already existed.

I think it is more common for people to have problems with rashes than breathing issues though. That's mostly because hedgehog quills drive the allergens already on your skin into your skin. Some are allergic to their urine or their saliva though.

Have you tried fleece liners? I would entirely dismiss the yesterday's new as a possibility. I'm sure it could pick up an allergen while being processed which a prickly hedgehog could drive under your skin.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:22 PM United States
Raindog Raindog is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Chicagoland area
Posts: 355
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I have bad allergies. There was not one thing on the allergen list that I was not allergic too. I do have reactions to my hedgie sometimes. Mostly when it is time for him to have a bath. Have you tried giving him a bath when you notice reactions?
Megan and Luna
at the bridge: Quinn
for I am a raindog too.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:13 AM Canada
mckenziepiping mckenziepiping is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Default Asthmatic reaction to hedgehogs

Summary of the story below: hedgehogs give me violent asthma attacks but I have no history of asthma and no allergies to other animals.

From birth to the age of 25, there was never a time where I was without pets. I've had rats, gerbils, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, reptiles, cats, dogs and finally, a hedgehog.

I once had a significant other who owned a hedgehog (my first encounter with one). I spent about 3 weeks sleeping in the same room as the hedgehog. There were no problems or warning signs, then one day I started having difficulty breathing. A few days later, extreme wheezing and shortness of breath. Went to see a doctor and got puffers for asthma. From then on, every time I'd go visit my significant other, I'd be able to tolerate the hedgehog for around 3-4 hours before the respiratory problems would reappear. If I'd go outside and get fresh air, breathing would return to normal within half an hour. All this time, I had never realized is was an allergy to the hedgehog and I assumed it was something in the gross carpet covering the bedroom. Also note that there was no itchiness anywhere, my eyes weren't watery, nose wasn't stuffy, and I didn't have any reactions to being pricked by the spines nor by getting drooled on, which happens a lot when they decide to anoint their quills. Also, there was no bedding in this case, as the hedgehog was cruelly kept on nothing but a kept of woodchips.

Finally, we broke up. I threw out the puffers because the asthma was gone. About 6 months later, I got myself a hedgehog. Within a week, the asthma returned. However, I was not sleeping in the same room as the hedgehog and the asthma was not nearly as intense as before, so I still never made the connection and figured it was just due to random factors. A few months later, I moved the hedgehog cage into my room. Woke up that night from the sensation of suffocation. Finally I started to suspect the hedgehog, so over the next few months I tested it by varying my level of exposure to the hedgehog and discovered that the asthma had a direct correlation to time spent with the hedgehog.

I gave her away to a friend. The asthma went away. It's been 3 years since then and I've never had any asthmatic symptoms since.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:43 PM United States
akane akane is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: North Liberty, IA
Posts: 516
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I think I have slight hedgehog allergies but we already do everything necessary to reduce them. Probably why I only slightly noticed it. I found running hot water over my skin would relieve a contact reaction and even a regular poke. Usually in small animals skin reactions are a reaction to the proteins in the urine which the animal has gotten on itself so keeping things cleaner and frequent baths (treat for dry skin) can reduce symptoms.

For respiratory symptoms making sure they have healthy skin/coat and using a non dusty bedding like fleece can remove symptoms. Even paper beddings can increase respiratory reactions because they are still dusty and the dust carries dandruff and urine proteins with it. The least dusty particle bedding I've used is oxbow's wheat pellets which when wet do break down to small pieces but the pieces stick back together to make a scoopable solid unlike pine which becomes loose sawdust. I wish I could afford it. We have all of ours on fleece except when we have a nesting mother and then we use kiln dried pine but we don't spend much time near that pen to avoid stressing the mother so it's not an issue.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:03 PM United States
jayyne jayyne is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 9

I just got on here to ask a similar question. I find myself unable to care for my hedgehog properly because I'm so reluctant to handle him. Everywhere his quills poke me I am covered in thick swollen red patches of hives that last for days. My husband got these giant thick laboratory gloves I can use to pick him up and bathe him, but if he's on my lap at all, my legs and stomach are covered in angry hives when I'm done. I just did a cage clean and bath with him and some nail trimming and I am suffering big time...even my fingers are swelling from when I took the gloves off and touched him briefly to get a better hold on him. Any suggestions for things to wear that quills don't poke through? Or ways you get around this?
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:31 AM United States
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smhufflepuff smhufflepuff is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Michigan
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Hopefully, as he settles down, he'll become less quilly, so there's less of a chance of a raised quill poking through anything. When we were treating our quillkids for MRSA, we used rubber kitchen gloves and used a layered approach - nice long gloves for us and then a layer of fleece so he feels warm and comfy.

Other suggestions: Make sure he's on fleece rather than any shavings (in case the shavings are making things worse). Consider that some of the stuff that he's poking through your skin comes from him and some of it is already sitting on your hands/arms. So make sure he's nice and clean AND make sure you're clean too -- wash up to your elbows, then put the gloves on. I'd suggest double layers for your shirt too. And you can have a nice fleece blankie over that too. You can take oral allergy meds and apply the topical Benedryl to your skin.
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