Risk level

Compassion for animals

Vets are animal doctors who, after a long training course, work with our pets - everything from horses to hamsters, depending on where they work. The job offers all kinds of paths, from going round farms or working at an animal hospital to doing research and providing others with information about animal care. Some vets develop allergies as a result of all the regular contact they have with animals.

What are the risks?

As most vets work with animals for much of the day, there is a risk of developing an allergy to fur, for example. This can cause breathing difficulties, itchy eyes and a runny nose when in the vicinity of animals.

During your training, and as a qualified vet, you will carry out operations, work in a laboratory and much more, all of which involves lots of handwashing and wet work, which can leave the skin fragile and increase the risk of hand eczema.

Prevention and avoidance

It's hard to protect yourself against the risk of allergy when working as a vet, as animals are part of the job. Good ventilation in your working environment can help.

It's a good idea to use gloves to protect your skin and prevent eczema, and to rub a moisturising cream into your hands several times a day.

If you have asthma and/or an allergy to animals, it will be difficult for you to work as a vet, as you will come into contact with the cause of 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 during your work as a vet.

Want to know more?

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