The family pet can be a source of allergies and so can their food, says new research. Even if your pet is considered “allergen free.”

A recently-published clinical case involved a boy who seemed to have developed an allergy to his new pet. The pet was a lizard, commonly known as a Bearded dragon. Bearded dragons are popular as reptile pets and are usually considered allergen-free. In this case, clinicians eventually realized that the lizard itself was not to blame.

The pet’s food is the allergen.

It’s not uncommon for those with certain food or airborne allergies to have a reaction to their pet’s food. Many dog, cat, poultry, and rodent (hamster, rabbit, etc) foods contain wheat, soy, milk, or other additives and fillers that might trigger an allergy in their humans or pets.

Normally, the foods fed to reptiles like a Bearded dragon will be considered allergen-free, since they usually consist of live insects. In the case of this young boy in the clinical study, however, the live insects were carrying substances (likely from their own food) that triggered an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) response.

Other studies have found pet foods from non-allergenic pets can also cause allergic reactions. Fish, in particular, have been documented to have allergens in their food which can cause a reaction in people. The researchers who published the case study are currently conducting a full-scale study of allergy sources in pet stores.

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