Personal Sensitivity to Exotic Animals
It’s not strange that the vast majority of people have never heard about allergies to non-traditional pets. The tendency to buy exotic pets and originally undomesticated animals has developed within the last few years. From snakes and ferrets up to pigs and rabbits, the increase in allergies associated with pets is related both with the way we live and the way our animals do. Definitely, due to the increasing number of people living in small apartments, the likelihood of allergy occurrence is constantly growing. It is mainly related to the limited space for pets and their owners.
Generally, people tend to divide animals into more and less “allergy-causing” ones. However, it is not always true.
The certain fact, we know for sure, is that the signs of pet allergies include asthma and rhinitis (both for traditional pets, like cats and dogs, and exotic animals). Additionally, the allergens, which are considered to be the cause of allergy, differ a little from animal to animal.
Way Pet Allergy Begins
Daily exposure to domestic animals, peculiarly in urban environment can advance personal sensitivity to pet-related allergens. An overwhelming majority of them are airborne particles we breathe in. As a result, the organism mounts an immune response that can either produce the outward symptoms or not.
However, in certain instances, repeated exposure can trigger more dangerous response, when histamine and other substances are released into the body and produce severe side effects.
Types of Allergens Related to Uncommon and Exotic Pets
According to the statistics, around 10.6% of the US householders own non-traditional or specialty pets. They can be various, including mammals (monkeys, rabbits, pigs or ferrets), rodents (jerboas, rats or chinchillas), reptiles, exotic birds, spiders or amphibians.
Contrary to the standard belief, the main cause of pet allergies is not hair, but dander. The shed cells of animals contain allergens in the form of secretion and dried saliva from sebaceous glands within the skin. Though the differences in composition in one animal to another varies greatly, the protein family, which comprises all the allergens, can originate just from three potential families, including:
• Secretoglobins, which are classified as the most severe allergens in cats, though can be found in other pets as well.
• Serum albumin is originally associated with mammals and serves a cause for around 20-30% of all pet-related allergies.
• Lipocalin is related to vertebrates and invertebrates. The substance can be easily dispersed in closed environment, such as an apartment.
It proves that even though the animal can be exclusive and ultimately unique, the source of allergy can be rather trivial.
What Can I Do with Pet Allergy?
To make sure the symptoms of your allergy are truly related to your pet, consult a healthcare provider and undergo a special allergy test. Despite it will not specify the exact animal or breed, which has triggered the reaction, you will learn if it is your pet that causes the allergy.
Keep in mind that having an allergy does not presuppose getting rid of the pet. Instead, you can take several measures to warn or minimize the signs of the problem.
Once you own a caged pet, like rabbit or ferret, you need to keep it outdoors most of the time. Regular cleaning of the cage with rubber gloves can decrease allergen influence. Wash your hands with antiseptic soap after the manipulations with the cage.
Bathe your pet regularly to prevent dander transformation into airborne. A bedside air filter is another solution, which can contribute to the overall beneficial effect.
If you plan to purchase a pet, schedule an appointment with a professional allergist to check possible allergic reactions you have. It will help you eliminate the headache and heartache related to buying a pet which makes you sick and getting rid of it.