Asthma UK community forum
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Pets for asthmatic children?

Can anyone recommend any which are asthma friendly?

Our thoughts were perhaps a couple of outdoor wire haired guineas or a tortoise.....

Any advice welcome xx

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Fish ... Tropical if u want to be adventurous x

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Are your children definitely allergic to cats/dogs? Or are you just worried they might be? I was asthmatic as a child and we always had cats, generally didn't bother me though there was one cat we got from the rescue centre who did make me worse, we had to give him away. The Burmese we had were fine though - different breeds can sometimes be ok so could look into it if they're desperate for a cat/dog though could get expensive.

Or maybe rabbits? I get the impression not many people are allergic to rabbits, could be wrong.

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I got told to get rid of rabbit as hairs are more fine or something like that...and for cats i got told that there more problematic for carrying pollen and spores within their fur :-|

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This a difficult question to answer, every one is different, and have your children been diagnosed with any pet allergies. In relation to dogs, there is no such think as the perfect hypo-allergenic dog, though some breeders do use this as a gimmick in my opinion. Certain dogs fur is better than others because there are less barbs on the individual hairs so dander slips off and doesn't hang about on the dog. Rodents tend to be in less control of bladders so dried urine on the fur can break off and effect the airways (I developed an allergy to rats because of this after successfully having them for 16 years). Keeping small animals also exposes the carer to sawdust,and straw or hay, and any cleaning agents used to clean the animals environment. I know of one person whose asthma is triggered by the flea protection you put on a dog. So with all these points to consider it simply isn't about choosing the right animal.

You also need to consider the animal's welfare should your children not be able to tolerate a pet, the RSPCA who I used to work with frequently got calls from parents of children who had developed allergies, in the case of a dog or cat the upheaval for them can be difficult, and children will also have developed a close bond and would be dreadfully upset. Plus you could have the added difficulty of not being able to find a home for your now unwanted pet because local animal welfare charities like the RSPCA may well not have kennel space or fosters.

Much to consider I am afraid, but being an allergic animal lover who has worked with animal welfare have seen these difficulties and just would like you to consider all aspects.

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The best thing is probably fish but even they need cleaning out on a regular basis. I grew up with dogs and budgies and was very ill as a child - now I know they were contributing to my asthma. I'm allergic to anything with fur or feathers, even hamsters affect me.

Personally I wouldnt get a pet if there is any chance it could affect your children. My son ('difficult asthma' altho better recently) wanted a pet when he was younger but I just said 'no'. And I absolutely agree with Katina - the welfare of any pet has to be considered.

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i cant really suggest anything apart from fish, is your child's asthma triggered by animals then, as not everyone is triggered by animals. that is the only thing that does not set off my asthma. as i have pets all my life including 3 cats, 2 rabbits, fish, gerbils. and i now have a hamster

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How about some Giant African Land snails, stick insects, or some sea monkeys (Brine shrimps)?

Triops (Tadpole shrimps) even if you can get a starter pack! (They hatch from eggs like sea monkeys do!

No fur and no feathers.............

Kate

PS I make do with the marine tank at work with small crabs, a prawn and some other sea life....

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African land snails are a good idea - think they have quite complicated feeding needs but live on soil so shouldn't be a problem.

If fur isn't a trigger then rabbits or guinea pigs kept outside would be ok, as the bedding wouldn't be in the air in the house.

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Hey, i've been bought up with dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and a parrot, fur and feathers don't seem to affect me too much, neither my dad. If you were considering a dog or a cat, take your child to a rescue centre, then they could be around animals, and see if there asthma is affected. If you visit a few times, then you'll have a pretty good idea of whether this could be a trigger :)

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I was looking into cats for a while. There are supposedly a few breeds of cats that don't have the allergen in their fur. Not the genetically engineered kind, just certain breeds. I'm in the U.S. so not sure what's available in the U.K. The main one I was looking at were Siberian Cats, and Russian Blue. I had a grey cat as a child, and didn't have any trouble with him specifically, and I actually think he was a Russian Blue. Also I do better with dogs...as other people have said it depends on the person. Right now I've decided not to get anything as I'm bad enough as is.

Bee

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I was looking into cats for a while. There are supposedly a few breeds of cats that don't have the allergen in their fur. Not the genetically engineered kind, just certain breeds. I'm in the U.S. so not sure what's available in the U.K. The main one I was looking at were Siberian Cats, and Russian Blue. I had a grey cat as a child, and didn't have any trouble with him specifically, and I actually think he was a Russian Blue. Also I do better with dogs...as other people have said it depends on the person. Right now I've decided not to get anything as I'm bad enough as is.

Bee

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