How do I get tested for a hedgehog allergy?
February 18, 2011 5:47 AM   Subscribe

How do I get tested for a hedgehog allergy?

My daughter is desperate to get a hedgehog, but I've been allergic to every domestic mammalian pet I've ever come in contact with. However, there seems to be a lot of literature on the internet suggesting that people with other allergies won't be allergic to hedgehogs.

I can't just go into a pet store and handle one and see what happens because I'll react to the other animals in the store.

Is it possible to go to an allergist and request a hedgehog test?

Thanks in advance, hive mind.
posted by Bobby Bittman to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I was a wee lad, we had a neighbor who had a bunny they were trying to find a home for. My parents, knowing that I was allergic to cats and horses (but not dogs, thankfully!), had me go over there and literally rub my face in the rabbit. Things seemed ok, no sneezing right away, but on the walk home, I started to sneeze, and my eyes started itching and swelling and watering. My parents laughed and laughed and laughed.

We didn't end up getting the rabbit.

Point of my story is, maybe find someone who has one (not a petstore, maybe on craigslist, or one of your daughter's friends?) and ask if you can hang out with it for a while.
posted by Grither at 5:56 AM on February 18, 2011

Yeah, you can go to an allergist with a sample of hedgehog and be tested (they could also probably order it for you, but it'd be cheaper to go to a pet store and request some.) Ask the allergist if there is any special container.
posted by k8t at 6:13 AM on February 18, 2011

Yes, you can just call an allergist and ask for the test. I used to get allergy shots and when they did the testing they asked me for suggestions for potential allergens, as well as doing all the standard ones for my symptoms.

I wouldn't request a sample of hedgehog from a pet store, for many, many reasons.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:38 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

We got our hedgie from a breeder. They don't sell them in pet stores around here (MA) and you need a license to breed them. Anyway she denied the existence of a hedgehog allergy. My wife gets itchy if she plays with the hog when he needs a bath (we bathe him every two weeks), but otherwise I haven't seen anyone react badly to the hedgehog. Oh and I'm ridiculously allergic to most pets and he hasn't bothered me at all.

My vote is to go to a breeder to check if you're allergic. Probably don't want to bring the daughter, on the off chance she gets attached to a hedger and you find out you can't have one in the house.

If you're anywhere near NH, I recommend these people:
posted by valadil at 7:01 AM on February 18, 2011

I know you work in the movie biz-- do you know an animal wrangler with a hedgehog?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:28 AM on February 18, 2011

I would caution you against buying a hedgehog from a pet store, and instead contact a local breeder if you have that option. IME they would be more than happy to have you come over and test your reaction to a hedgehog before deciding to buy one.
posted by muddgirl at 8:03 AM on February 18, 2011

For your reference, if you handle a hedgehog you will probably get lots of little itchy red marks on your hands. Although annoying, this isn't indicative of an allergic reaction, but rather its just your skin getting irritated from all the little needle-sharp quills. This tends to not happen as much if you make sure the hedgehog is kept clean.
posted by sarastro at 9:26 AM on February 18, 2011

You can get an allergy test for just about anything, no need to bring your own samples (I really doubt a pet store would sample an animal's dander for you anyway), but people with hedgehogs generally are really evangelical about their pets and would be delighted to let you and your daughter hang out with their hedgehog(s) for a bit.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:22 AM on February 18, 2011

Is there a hedgehog club near you?
posted by SarahbytheSea at 2:42 PM on February 19, 2011

Are you in MA, by any chance? You could meet my hog.
posted by prior at 9:56 AM on March 29, 2011

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