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Hedgehogs are increasingly popular pets in the United States and Europe. A number of infections may be acquired from these animals, and hedgehogs are possible hosts of parasites. However, to our knowledge there are no previous reports of urticarial reactions to hedgehogs.
We describe 3 patients who developed an acute, transient, urticarial reaction after contact with the extended spines of pet hedgehogs. One patient also developed a more prolonged reaction at the site of contact. Interestingly, all 3 patients had documented allergies to cats and/or dogs. The results of prick testing in 1 patient to an extract of hedgehog dander produced an immediate wheal-and-flare reaction.
A variety of dermatologic disorders may be seen in handlers of hedgehogs. Due to the increasing popularity of these animals as pets, it is likely that these reactions will be noted more frequently by dermatologists. The presence of allergies to other pets may be predictive of hedgehog hives and further investigation of the cross reaction of various animal antigens may clarify this relationship.
Fairley JA, Suchniak J, Paller AS. Hedgehog Hives. Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(5):561–563. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.5.561
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