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Could I Be Allergic to a Pet Rabbit?

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Updated June 19, 2014

Question: Could I Be Allergic to a Pet Rabbit?
Answer: Yes, it is possible to be allergic to any type of animal, including rabbits. While having a rabbit for a pet is less common than owning a dog or a cat (or even a ferret), non-traditional pets are becoming more popular. During the Easter season, especially, rabbits are given as gifts. But is a pet rabbit a good idea for someone with allergies?

Positive allergy testing to rabbit dander is not uncommon, and allergy symptoms when exposed to rabbits can include allergic rhinitis, asthma and even urticaria. Not much is known about rabbit allergens, except that they are present in the animal’s hair, dander and urine.

It could be possible to keep a pet rabbit even if a person is allergic to it; certain measures would need to be taken, however, in order to minimize/prevent allergic symptoms. The rabbit should be kept outside if possible (or at least in the garage) to minimize allergens inside the home, should be bathed regularly (if possible, or at least wiped down daily with a baby wipe) to prevent hair/dander from becoming airborne, the cage should be cleaned regularly (preferably by a person without rabbit allergy), and an allergic person should wash their hands/change their clothes after handling the rabbit.

So, before you purchase a pet rabbit this Easter, be aware that you or your child could be/become allergic to it. Check with your allergist for allergy testing that is available to see if you’re allergic to rabbits. If you are, stick with the chocolate bunnies this Easter.

Learn how to deal with a pet allergy without having to get rid of your pet.

Source:

Phillips JF, Lockey RF. Exotic Pet Allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009;123:513-5.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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