The HSE-gateway

Health checks for work with fur-bearing laboratory animals

Work with laboratory animals may trigger allergies and later asthma.

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All those who work with laboratory animals may potentially develop allergies, with symptoms affecting the eyes, nose and skin. If exposure continues after an allergy has arisen, asthma may also develop.

It is therefore very important for future lung function that exposure ceases.

Allergies will usually arise during the first two years, but in some cases may also develop later. Persons who have, or have had, another allergy are more likely than others to develop allergies to laboratory animals and should use suitable respiratory protective equipment and closely follow the preventive measures that are described or recommended when they handle animals without special ventilation.

Health checks

The purpose of this type of health check is to help prevent the development of allergies and asthma. The first health check is offered and recommended before starting work with laboratory animals. Thereafter, health checks are offered after

  • 6 months
  • 1 year
  • 2 years

Employees and students will not be regularly monitored after 2 years, but individuals are recommended to make contact with the Occupational Health Service at UiB if they have symptoms that might indicate allergy to laboratory animals.


Work with laboratory animals means that a person works with fur-bearing laboratory animals him or herself or is present in a room where work with laboratory animals is performed.

Handling small tissue samples and blood from laboratory animals is not regarded as work with laboratory animals provided there is no regular exposure to skin contact or allergens in the air.

 The work or presence in a room with laboratory animals must be for more than a total of 40 hours per year or more than 1 hour per week.