I want to work with animals but I'm allergic

I want to work in the animal industry, either in a shelter, in rescue, or possibly in animal research. I’m allergic to cats/dogs/some birds. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I were allergic to other animals as well since I’m cursed lol. How well does immunotherapy work for allergies? Also, how long do most people do immunotherapy before noticing a difference? Thanks!

While immunotherapy works for most people it doesn’t work for everyone, just so you’re warned.

I, personally, noticed a significant difference in between 3-6 months (multiple allergies). For some the allergy went away. For others, it got better but was still annoying at times.

Granted, I had my shots 35 years ago, techniques may have improved since then.

There are other critters besides cats, dogs, and birds - maybe, if you’re not allergic, ferret or horse rescue? Iguanas? Others?

consider fish rescue.

talk to your allergist about what immunotherapies that you might try. yeah works some for many. it may take time to have effect.

Medical advice is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I work in feline rescue and as an ER vet tech. Quite a few of my coworkers get allergy shots on the regular, both for work and their own pets. I’ve never asked them the details, but they seem to think the therapy is worth it.

I worked in a zoo and had allergic reactions to contact with or proximity to various mammal species. A partial list:

Skunks - extreme. Rats - slightly. Porcupines - yep, especially their urine. Ferrets - nope. Capybaras - not that I noticed. Rabbits - nope. Goats - nope… except their saliva, which would bring me out in a rash. Horses - nope.

Etc. My point is, it’s fairly random, doesn’t go by animal family. It was actually sometimes kind of fun when encountering a new species, in a self-experimental way. I sometimes scratched up the skin on my wrists and rubbed it on the fur of a new species to exacerbate a possible reaction, so I’d know right away if I needed to take an extra dose of antihistamine if I was scheduled to work with said species.

None of these reactions were dangerous, just itchy eyes, runny nose. Not fun to give a presentation to a bunch of kids, necessarily, but nothing that made me avoid future contact. (Except skunks, if I’d forgotten my pills.)

Allergy shots took me from not being able to be in a room with a cat or dog due to severe asthma, to being able to rub my face all over animals without a reaction. The shots are amazing.

However, there are not shots for all allergies. If you’re allergic to something weird, they might not be able to treat it.

I noticed a difference in the first three months, and consider myself mostly cured after four years, though I’m still getting the shots.