Animal keeper

Risk level

The animals went in two by two

Wherever there are animals, there'll be animal keepers - zoos, research laboratories, canine daycare, pet shops, farms and so on. They look after cows, pigs, horses, mice or zebra fish by cleaning them out, feeding them and checking that they're healthy. Some animal keepers develop allergies as a result of all the regular contact they have with animals.

 

What are the risks?

Animal keepers risk becoming allergic to the animals they take care of all day, which can result in a runny nose, itchy eyes and breathing difficulties.
Handling animal feed can involve contact with mould, which can also cause allergies.

Prevention and avoidance

It's difficult to protect yourself from the risk of developing an allergy to animals, as they are part of the job. It's a good idea to try to ensure that the ventilation where you work is good. What's more, clean and tidy environments make it harder for mould to develop. Working on a well-tended farm may be a better option than looking after mice in a laboratory.

If you have asthma and/or eczema, it will be difficult for you to work as an animal keeper, as you will come into contact with substances that will aggravate your condition. If you had atopic eczema when you were little, you should be aware that you are more likely than others to develop allergies working as an animal keeper.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about asthma and eczema when working as a pool/leisure centre attendant, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.