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Old 11-15-03, 11:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hives from iguana

I believe I have brought this up before, but I didn't really get any answers or talk to anyone else who has experienced this.

I am fairly certain Roxy my iguana is giving me hives. I have "patch" tested all the things I use in her cage, her cage, etc. But I only get hives when I am in direct contact with her. They stay for days (the hives) and I can't take it anymore. It is the worst when I do a "full" cage clean which involves a lot of contact with Roxy while moving her and trying to clean around her.

Has anyone heard of this, or know someone who is allergic to a reptile? I know its VERY rare someone actually is allergic to a reptile instead of something in the home that is used with the reptile but at this point I am almost sure its the iguana herself.

thanks
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Old 11-15-03, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Reptile nails give me hives sometimes, if the nails scratch at all I can break out. Not so much touching scales, but definatly the nails.
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Old 11-15-03, 01:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My allergist told me that while rare, he's encountered people who have allergies to the reptiles themselves. In theory, any protein can trigger allergies so reptile skin and saliva can cause reactions.

There's also something called idiopathic urticaria, where people get non-allergic hives from something that irritates or even stimulates the skin. Sunlight, cold, contact with rough surfaces, etc. can trigger idiopathic hives so a reptile's claws and rough skin could definitely aggravate a problem like that.
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Old 11-15-03, 01:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well normally I get the hives from just touching her. She hasn't scratched me in over a year really but they flare up when I rub her, or hold her, or pick her up.

This started a year ago basically, I love her to pieces but this is really making taking care of her, and life difficult.

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Old 11-16-03, 01:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well yesterday I had no hives, but after giving Roxy breakfast and her head scratches, my hives are DRIVING ME NUTS!

At this point I am feeling like crap. I love this iguana, I don't feel she deserves ANOTHER home but at the same time I can't see how I can deal with hives like this...I am lucky this time they aren't on my face but like I mentioned last year I had to stay in the house for two weeks because they were on my face.

How much would you guys put up with before you feel its needed to find another home for your pet? I don't want to be a bad iguana mum, lol, and I certainly am not a pet owner who dumps animals. *sigh* I am confused.

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Old 11-16-03, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't think you're a bad igmom at all if you decide that's too much for you. If it's a true immune system reaction they can continue to worsen over time and it's not worth the risk to your health.

Back in January my asthma was all out of control at a time of the year when I'm usually symptom-free. Things kept getting worse in spite of additional meds and my doctor finally skin-tested me using proteins extracted from the crickets, roaches and silkworms I raised for my beardies. It turned out I reacted strongly to the crix and roaches, mildly to the silkworms.

So I tried a superworms once a week, pellet and salads every day diet for my beardies. When after 4 months it became apparent they were losing muscle tone I decided it was best for them to get a keeper who would be able to feed them insects more often. They now live with a breeder who raises silks, hornworms, roaches, crickets, and they are doing great.

I still take in post-op beardies who are on liquid diets so that I have beardies in my life, but they go back to either the clinic or their keepers once they are ready to go back on bugs.
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Old 11-16-03, 01:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for your post Eyespy. I just feel like we took Roxy in about 3-4 years ago because we wanted to give an iguana a permanent home. She had been moved three times in her 4 years at that point and I wanted her to have a place to really settle in for life. I feel like if we were to give her to another home, I would be letting her down but like you said it gets hard after it keeps happening and happening. I dunno. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do

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Old 11-16-03, 03:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am sorry. I had three pet rats while I was in college. It turned out that I was allergic to their dander. Every time I went near their cage, I would be sneezing and scratching my eyes for hours. It came to where I would think about avoiding their cleaning or handling them. I loved them sooo much, but it came to where they were about to be compromised. I found a good home for them, but, I miss them very much. I felt guilty about it then, but now I know that I was doing what was best for all of us. Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
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Old 11-16-03, 09:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by eyespy
called idiopathic urticaria, where people get non-allergic hives from something that irritates or even stimulates the skin. Sunlight, cold, contact with rough surfaces, etc.
I get hives when I get cold! I just thought I was a freak lol. Swimming pools with a high chlorine content will do it too sometimes.

Thanks for posting that eyespy!
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Old 11-17-03, 10:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh Marisa, I am soooo sorry you are going thru this. I know how much you love your baby.

Do any allergy medications help at all?
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Old 11-17-03, 12:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes like the usual allgery medicines work o.k. sometimes but I prefer not to take them if I don't have too. If I did want to wokr around her everyday I would probably have to take two a day. Which is too much for me.

*sigh* Right now my roomates have agreed to play with her and feed her (haha she needs lots of attention!) and my boyfriend is cleaning up after her. But its literally impossible for me not to pet her or hold her. I can't help it. I am still trying to figure out what to do.

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Old 11-17-03, 12:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Allergy meds merely mask the symptoms but the immune system over-reaction to the protein is still occuring, which can lead to autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia.

I wonder if your doctor can make a testing solution from some of Roxy's shed skin to see if you are having a true immune system reaction or if it's the idiopathic thing. Idiopathic hives, while annoying and hard to live with, don't usually escalate into deeper problems the way that allergies can. Of course, I'm certainly no doctor so it's best to discuss all of this with your family doc or an allergist.
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Old 11-17-03, 01:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I will definitly try and get tested for specifically her skin. Although the results won't suprise me. *sigh*

And yes I have heard how the medications mask the real problem and in turn can create more problems. Which is why I prefer to just "deal with it" and use aloe vera on the hives, and try not to pet the ig.

Thanks for all your advice everyone. This week I have commited to making a decision because I really can't handle these hives anymore.

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