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Allergies If I'm allergic to rats, is it likely I will be the same with guinea pigs?

trexgorawrrrrr

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My question is the title of the thread basically. I had guinea pigs growing up without any problems, and would love to add a few small & furry family members.

I recently had my last rattie PTS due to old age. I had female rats for a year before adding boys. After I added boys my allergies started. It was horrible, after being perscribed two different inhalers and coughing up blood it was time to rehome them. It broke my heart, the boys were so cuddley and loveable. I kept them for an entire year (until I started coughing up blood) because I loved them too much to let them go. I had to take two bennadryl pills three times daily, a claritin pill, a singular pill, and use my inhaler. It was horrible by the end, and after the boys were gone it continued. I stopped coughing up blood, and kept my girls till they were gone.

As much as I'd love another pair of ratties, I can't put myself through that again. I miss having guinea pigs, and also love them! But after becoming severely allergic to my rats, I'm afraid I may do the same with guineas.

Before I invest into everything, what do you think? Anyone have any similar experiences.
 

flomopiggie5

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I am not sure if rats and guinea pigs have any similarities when it comes to allergies, but my friend is allergic to cats, and she is also allergic to my guinea pigs, i am not sure if there is a connection though.
It takes three weeks to know for sure if you are allergic to a guinea pig (which can be enough time for you to fall in love with them). Do any friends have a guinea pig (s) perhaps you can visit them for a week or two and interact with the pigs to know for sure.

Another allergy that you may get from owning a guinea pig is the allergies to hay, especially timothy hay which happens to be the hay they should have at all times available to them. I am actually allergic to the hay, but not to bad, i can touch it and smell it, and the only side effects is slight sneezing.

Guinea pig allergies are not caused by the hair,but by the saliva and urine. If you are allergic, you shouldn't be the one cleaning the cage, it can cause skin allergies like rashes and some of your previous sypmtoms you had with your rats. The best way to find out if you are allergic or not (and the safest way and least painful way) is to go to an allergist and get tested.


Here is the link that was really helpful when I was getting guinea pigs: Living with Guinea Pig Allergies: Pet Allergies: Your Pet and You

Good luck! Hope everything goes well! And remember to always adopt if you get a piggy! :)
 

trexgorawrrrrr

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Well I know I was allergic to their saliva, and urine. Which would get under their nails, and I did have skin issues with hives and rashes. I just didn't mention them, but I couldn't even hold them without a sweartshirt on, and I always showered after their out of the cage time. They had out of the cage time normally right before I went to bed for 1 to 2 hours, so I could shower after. I also changed their fleece on shelves and things daily, as well as bedding/a thorough cleaning weekly. That was ALOT of work having 3 grls in one cage and 3 boys in another.

I don't have any friends with guinea pigs, otherwise I'd take your suggestion. I'm not goot with needles, so I'm not real keen on getting tested although it's probably the only sure way. If I was allergic to the hay I'd just have my bf deal with that part, but I'm nervous about it becoming the same situation.

I'll havre to check out that link.

and don't worry, if I get some guineas they will be adopted! I know all to well about pet store animals, and mills.
 

rabbitsncavyluv

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Is there a rescue near you? You could go handle them and see how it goes.
 

sarahspins

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I was also *severely* allergic to rats (I've ended up in the hospital more than once as a result.. very similar symptoms to yours).. and I suffered through it far longer than was reasonable because I did love having them - and I haven't had rats for nearly 4 years now. I've only had the pigs less than 2 weeks, but so far I've had no problem at all with them. Of course, I wasn't allergic to rats right away - that was an allergy that took a decade to fully develop to the point where I really couldn't keep them... it started with little welts from their nails, then the runny nose, itchy eyes, and eventually sneezing, coughing, and asthma type symptoms (which is was ultimately caused the most trouble, like coughing up blood).

Most allergy "testing" doesn't involve needles, if you're afraid of that.. they just press a plastic tray thing against your skin... it's easy, and you get results in 15 minutes. The only problematic part of getting tested is that you have to be OFF all allergy meds for a certain amount of time.. some like benadryl only require a couple of days, others, like Zyrtec, would require stopping them for a full two weeks for the skin testing to be accurate.

I am allergic to most grasses... but keep in mind when you are allergic to something like grass, it's usually the pollen you react to, not the "grass" itself.. so if you are allergic to a given grass you might not react much to the hay - it really depends on if it has many seed heads in there, or if it's moldy (if you happen to be allergic to mold), or very dusty, but good quality fresh hay doesn't bother me much... but if it makes me sneeze, I toss it (that was my policy when I had rabbits years and years ago).

I hear people talk about being "allergic" to their pigs, but personally I doubt the validity of that, having managed a severe allergy myself for quite some time, I know that it *is* possible to deal with it... and honestly I would suspect that it probably is a reaction to something environmental, like the hay, than the pigs themselves.. most people claiming allergies don't bother to get tested, they just dump their pets at the first hint of a problem, so sometimes the lines can be blurred as far as what is really going on... I think there are a certain number of people who use the "allergic" thing to excuse their poor pet care.

I adopted my pigs from someone who claimed to be allergic to them.. reality is, I think she just didn't realize how much WORK they would be... because she had a grown son living at home, and a daughter that was probably 9-10, as well as a husband who could have helped out with them if she truly couldn't manage caring for them... yet my pigs were matted and filthy when I got them, and they're at most 6 months old. So to get to that state, in just a few months.. it's clear that she just wansn't trying to take care of them at all..
 

Heady

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Is there a rescue near you? You could go handle them and see how it goes.

This is exactly what I was going to suggest, but you beat me to it! :)

Trexgorawrrrrr (I'm going to call you Trex because that is a LOT to type!!:p) that is awful that you're so allergic to rats! I think rabbitsncavyluv's suggestion is perfect. That way you don't have to invest anything, except cuddles!

My husband is allergic to one of our cats but not the other two (unfortunately, it's the only cat that absolutely adores him). He is also severely allergic to a variety of hays and grasses (his eyes get puffy and...leak :yuck:). BBP (Before Back Problems) I would keep everything vacuumed, especially stray hay on the floor, and keep the old t-shirts I used to hold the pigs clean so if he needed to hold one, he didn't have to come in direct contact with them (because they like to lay in their hay and what not). That seemed to work quite well! I would like to get one of those air things people talk about on here (right now I can't remember exactly what they're called) eventually because it seems that would help with his allergies and asthma as well.

Sarahspins, that is so sad about the pigs you adopted. I'm glad they have a great home now.
 

skinnypigs

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I'm allergic to all animals with fur basically. I found rats to really bother my allergies and even bothered my Moms when I was living at home. She finds rats bother her allergies more than any other small rodent. She seems to be fine around the pigs and rabbits. I am allergic to my Pigs and they don't even have hair but luckily taking two puffers twice a day allows me to be almost symptom free.
So I think holding one at a shelter for a bit will show whether you are allergic pretty quick. For me I just have to walk into a house with a cat and my allergies are set off.
 

FlowersGrandma

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We've never had rats, and so far no allergies to the pigs, though I take allergy meds for other issues, so I may just not know. lol But I am very allergic to the hay. Have to feed it in small doses and keep it covered. I allow a little opening for air to flow through, and have an air filter to keep down the dust.

Good luck. You might try working with some at a shelter and see how you respond to them. With cats, I can usually tell within a few minutes. Some breeds bother my allergies, others don't. We had two housecats for years and they didn't bother me, but my mother-in-law has a several (it varies from time to time) cats and walking in her house sets off my allergies.
 

FlowersGrandma

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Might also add with furry animals, it's often the dander, which is on the fur, so the cleaner you keep the cage, the surrounding area, etc the less likely you are to suffer if you do have allergies. You will still have allergies, but you can do something about how much you suffer by finding out what on the animal makes you sick, and avoiding that as much as possible. Granted you will want to pet your baby, but there's no need to have his hair in your bed, on your clothes, under the couch in the living room.
 

trexgorawrrrrr

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Well I had posted an add on craigslist to see if anyone in the area had some piggies I could interact with, and got something better. She actually refrenced this site and GL for info on how to properly take care of guineas. She also helped me find a shelter in my area with small animals.

I had been trying to find one through petfinder, but couldn't... So i'm glad she came along, I'm planning to go and visit soon to see if I'm allergic. If everything works out I will most likely be adopting from there! I want to go tomorrow to the rescue, but we will see. :)
 

FlowersGrandma

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That's wonderful! They will enjoy the help, you will definitely get to see if you have allergies, though I'd avoid the ratties, because that will throw off your experiment, and you will know all about the ones that pick you as their momma. Have fun.
 

flomopiggie5

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Hope everything goes well! And its great that you are choosing to adopt!!! I got allergy tested, but not for piggies, and it wasn't painful at all. They just put a few drops on your skin of different allergens (such as peanut oil) and then watch to see which one you are allergic to.

But i have to say going to a rescue and getting to cuddle with the pigs seems much more fun! :]
 

genuinefairy

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I have rats and guinea pigs, and I'm slightly allergic to rats - nothing to the proportions to which you were allergic to them. But I get rashes wherever their tiny claws may dig in or scratch. I've found that I'm far less allergic to guinea pigs, I don't get the rashes. The area gets a bit red if they scramble on me, but, none of the swelling rashes. I find that it's usually a particular animal that can set off allergies, rather than a whole animal family or type... just thought I'd chip in. Though definitely see if you can hold them for a while at a shelter. I know how heartbreaking it is to be allergic to your pets. I have 2 cats, and am allergic to them... and it's hard.
 
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