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How Do You Treat Flea Allergy Dermatitis

First Of All What Is Flea Allergy In Dogs

How To Recognize & Treat Flea Bite Dermatitis

Flea allergy dermatitis arises when your dogâs immune system overreacts to flea saliva. The severity of the itching doesnât necessarily correlate to the number of flea bites your dog has sometimes, it only takes a few to generate a whole lot of scratching. Many dogs will also have secondary bacterial and yeast infections, as well as environmental allergies, all of which aggravate the itch.

Home Remedies For Flea Allergy Dermatitis In Dogs

If youre thinking, my dog is allergic to fleas, what can I do? Try not to worry, your furry friend is going to be fine. There is more than one flea bite allergy treatment for dogs available, and working with a veterinarian, youll be able to find a suitable solution.

The number one priority is to avoid exposure to the allergen meaning you need to de-flea your furry friend and keep to a strict flea-free regime.

  • Regularly using an oral or topical flea treatment can help to kill and prevent fleas from breeding and causing an infestation.
  • Fleas are more prolific throughout the summer months, yet its essential to stick to your de-flea schedule throughout the year.

Prevention is key, but while there are fleas in the world there is always a risk of your pooch being bitten, triggering an allergic reaction. Here is a list of typical treatments your vet may prescribe for a dog flea allergy:

Topical treatment Your vet may advise using a dog shampoo or cream formulated to help ease the itching and irritation caused by flea allergy dermatitis.

How Do You Stop Flea Bites From Itching At Night

Wash the bites with soap and water to keep the area clean and decrease your risk of infection. You can use an over-the-counter antihistamine, like Zyrtec or Claritin, to help reduce itchiness and keep you from scratching. Anti-itch creams like hydrocortisone and calamine lotion can also relieve itching.

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Products Available For Flea Control Proper Administration And Client Expectations

There are numerous flea products available including topical, oral, and injectable formulations. Some target the adult fleas , others target the immature stages , and some products are both an adulticide and an IGR. Explaining proper administration of flea products and administering the first dose of treatment can help minimize client error. Product labels need to be read carefully and pet owners made aware that many products for dogs cannot be used on cats and some exotic pets especially those containing pyrethroids. This is especially important if clients are purchasing over-the-counter products . Topical spot-on medications need to be applied to dry skin and bathing is prohibited for a period of time after application depending on the product used. A good rule of thumb is no bathing 2 days prior or after application of a topical product. Excessive bathing and swimming should be avoided. Some oral medications need to be administered with food for best absorption. OTC products are not recommended for the control of FAD.

How Long Does Flea Allergy Dermatitis Last

What Do Flea Bites Look Like?

If fleas continue to bite your allergic cat, your pet will likely experience discomfort until the fleas are treated. During that time, secondary skin issues from clawing and scratching – including open sores and skin lesions – often occur. Unfortunately, a cat with FAD will most likely be sensitive to flea bites throughout their life, but you can help keep these flare-ups at bay by preventing the flea infestations that cause them.

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Flea Allergy Dermatitis In Dogs And Cats

, DVM, PhD, DACVM, Kansas State University

Flea allergy dermatitis is an immunologic disease caused by the injection of antigens from the salivary glands of fleas as they feed on the host animal. The primary clinical signs are pruritis and papulocrustous lesions distributed on the lower back, tailhead, and caudal and inner thighs in dogs or pruritis and papular dermatitis found on the face, neck, and back in cats. Diagnosis can be based on clinical signs, finding fleas, and results of intradermal skin testing. Control is based on treatment and prevention of flea infestations, along with supportive care for dermatitis.

Flea allergy dermatitis or flea bite hypersensitivity is the most common dermatologic disease of domestic dogs in the US. Cats also develop FAD, which is one of the major causes of feline miliary dermatitis. FAD is most prevalent in the summer, although in warm climates flea infestations may persist throughout the year. In north temperate regions, the close association of pets and their fleas with human dwellings creates conditions that permit a year-round problem. Temperature extremes and low humidity tend to inhibit flea development.

How Can I Soothe Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Your veterinarian has topical, oral and injectable treatments to help ease the itch. Because the constant itching and clawing can cause infections, your vet may discuss using antibiotics to treat those issues as well. For a cat that’s not water-averse, a cool bath at home can also temporarily soothe the skin.

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How To Identify Flea Bite Allergies On Humans

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Symptoms Of Flea Allergy Dermatitis In Humans. Purple rash is another symptom that may develop at the site of bite but after few hours may spread to nearby area. Flea allergy rash is accompanied with severe itching. Scratching makes the condition worse. Flea allergy dermatitis usually begins within 12 to 24 hours after the bite.

What Does Fad Look Like

Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs and Cats: Flea control tips and reasons why your dog is itching.

The most common sign of FAD in dogs and cats is intense itchiness, but there are others to watch for:

  • Appearing restless and uncomfortable
  • Spending a lot of time grooming, chewing, biting, licking and scratching themselves or rubbing their skin against objects
  • Hair may be stained brown from licking especially obvious in white pets
  • Skin changes in dogs: hair loss, rash, reddened or darkened skin, thickened skin, scratches or wounds from self-trauma, typically along the lower back and base of the tail, the thighs and belly
  • Skin changes in cats: hair loss and rash typically involving the back half of the body , hind legs , back of the neck, and less commonly on the head

It’s also important to look for damage to your pets skin that can lead to secondary infections that will exacerbate the itching.1,2

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Use Monthly Flea And Tick Preventatives

There are many flea prevention products on the market. Work with your veterinarian to pick the one that is best for your dog.

The oral medications in the isoxazoline category have been the most recent group that has been extremely effective and safe for most dogs. Talk to your vet to make sure your dog doesnt have any contraindications such as seizures.

If you keep the flea population under control, you can spare your pet pain and suffering. It can take three months to rid your house of an infestation. It is time-consuming and expensive.

Prevent what you can to keep your dog flea-free!


1. Fritz, Anissa. Use this veterinary study to help clients take FAD seriously. January 27,2019.

2. Lam, Andrea and Yu, Anthony. Overview of Flea Allergy Dermatitis, Dermatology Compendium,Vol 31, No 5, May 2009.

3. Dryden, Michael. Flea Allergy Dermatitis.

4. Jangi Bajwa, Cutaneous cytology and the dermatology patient, The Canadian Veterinary Journal,

Controlling Fleas and Ticks Around Your Home,

Kwocka KW. Fleas and related disease. Vet Clin North Am Small Ani Pract 1987 17:1235-1262

How Do You Prevent Flea Allergy Dermatitis In Dogs

According to William Oldenhoff, DVM, DACVD, a dermatologist at LeadER Animal Specialty Hospital in Cooper City, Fla., there are several different steps you need to take. The first is to use a flea preventative year-round, which takes a while to resolve the infestation because the flea life cycle ranges from one to two months, depending on environmental conditions, and pupa can survive for up to a year before becoming adults.

Dr. Oldenhoff also recommends cleaning your house thoroughly. âVacuum all surfaces, paying particular attention to the areas adjacent to walls and corners and under furniture,â he says. âBe sure to clean the furniture as well, and launder any bedding the dog sleeps on.â He does not recommend having the house itself sprayed or otherwise treated, since flea preventives and meticulous environmental cleaning are usually enough to keep fleas at bay.

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Treatment Options For Dogs With Flea Allergy Dermatitis

The best treatment for dogs with FAD is flea prevention. Flea saliva from a flea bite leads to an allergic reaction, making it vital to control fleas on your dog as well as the environment. For dogs with FAD, this means year-round oral or topical flea preventives as well as treating the environment, particularly during warmer weather.

Dogs with secondary skin infections or other skin problems due to FAD may need medications including antibiotics, steroids to give short-term relief, antihistamines, supplements, and medicated shampoos.

Soothe your dogs inflamed skin by bathing them in a bath using cool water, unless your dog dislikes being bathed. While this only provides short-term relief, it helps their skin feel better and also removes some fleas.

In severe cases of FAD with flea infestation, supportive care may be needed for dogs with blood loss or anemia.

Mandatory Treatment Of All In

How to Treat Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs Naturally

FIGURE 5. Feline indolent ulceration of the rostral maxillary lip.

Ideally the FAD affected pet needs treatment with a product that eliminates adult fleas and inhibits growth of the immature stages . The time between dosing is commonly reduced during a treatment trial or when flare-ups occur from monthly to every 14 days for 2-3 applications. All in-contact animals, whether indoor or outdoor pets , need to be treated or the life cycle will continue. Other in-contact dogs and cats can be treated following the product labeled instructions, which is usually monthly administration. There are no labeled flea preventatives for exotic pets however, Selamectin is commonly used off-label for ferrets, rabbits, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, rats, gerbils, and mice.1,3 Year-round treatment is recommended.

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What Are Allergies And How Do They Affect Cats

One of the most common medical conditions affecting cats is allergy. An allergy occurs when the cat’s immune system overreacts or is hypersensitive to foreign substances called allergens. Allergens are simply foreign proteins that the body’s immune system tries to remove. Examples of allergens common in humans are pollens, dust, molds, and pet hair. Hypersensitivity in cats can manifest in one of three ways:

  • The most common manifestation is itching of the skin, either localized to one area or a generalized reaction all over the cat’s body.
  • Another manifestation involves the respiratory system and may result in coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. Sometimes, there may be an associated nasal or ocular discharge.
  • The third manifestation involves the digestive system and can result in vomiting, flatulence, and/or diarrhea.
  • Can Dogs Take Zyrtec

    Zyrtec is one of the safer medications you can give to your dog, so as long as you do so correctly and under your vets guidance, your pet should be good to go. Zyrtec is also a difficult medication for a dog to overdose on. They have an extremely high tolerance for it, so long as they arent allergic to it.

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    Burrs In Fur: Tips For Grooming

    • For dogs, comb the burrs in their fur with a metal comb immediately. If burrs are badly tangled, rub vegetable oil on your fingers and work the lubrication slowly through the fur until you can pull the burrs out.
    • Cats typically will want to take care of their own grooming, but you can help by gently working through the mess with a wire brush. Most cats wont let you cut the fur or lubricate it the way a dog will.

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    What About Steroid Treatment

    What is flea allergy dermatitis (FAD)? With Rory the Vet | My Pet and I

    Corticosteroids, cortisone or steroids are widely used to treat FAD. They often bring about miraculous relief to the poor pruritic patient. However, it should be noted that there are significant potential side effects to steroid use. The long term use of corticosteroids can ultimately result in more harm than good. Steroids can be safely used for short-term relief while flea control is being implemented. Your veterinarian will outline the safest and most effective treatment plan for your pets individual needs.

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    What Causes Itchy Skin In Cats

    There are many reasons why your cat could be experiencing itchy skin. Fortunately, many of them are not serious or symptomatic of a worrisome condition. But its always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if youve noticed changes in your cats health or behavior or before trying anything new.

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    What Is Flea Allergy Dermatitis

    Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergy to flea bites and its actually super common in dogs.

    Flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most common allergies in our dogs and cats, Dr. Oberkirchner told The Dodo. If this animal gets bitten by just one or very few fleas, it will become severely itchy and the downward spiral is then allowed to begin.

    An allergic reaction to fleas is really uncomfortable for pets, and its far more annoying than a normal reaction to a flea bite .

    Dogs and cats who suffer from FAD typically are severely itchy and often require veterinary care to help them become and stay comfortable, Dr. Oberkirchner said.

    Oftentimes, it only takes one flea to cause a reaction, which means you may notice a reaction but not see fleas or flea dirt on your dog. Even if your other pets are totally fine and you cant spot a single flea in your house, its still very possible your dog has a flea allergy.

    It is important to know that FAD is not the same as a flea infestation. If someone has a flea infestation in their home, most animals will itch somewhat, and one can often see fleas on the animal or in their environment, Dr. Oberkirchner said.

    This is in stark contrast to FAD, she added. In FAD, it is often a single animal that is affected and, typically, the owners have never seen fleas on their pet or in their environment.

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    Managing Flea Allergy Dermatitis

    A veterinarian should formally diagnose any allergy in your cat or dog. That way, they can prescribe a custom treatment plan. At-home treatments can address the symptoms, but your doctor has more effective targeted options with prescription medication. Medications can block the release of inflammatory chemicals and prevent itching.

    Cortisone, for example, is a steroid that can kill the itch and help your pets’ adrenal glands kick into action. Antihistamines are usually prescribed to treat or prevent allergies, as they also relieve itching. Antibiotics can help treat any infections and inflammation that might pop up from incessant scratching.

    Getting rid of the irritant causing FAD â the fleas â is the first step in treating it. Moderate to severe infestations may take several months to get under control. The cure won’t come overnight. It takes up to two weeks for itching to resolve once you banish the fleas.

    You can relieve your pets’ discomfort with home care.

    Signs Of Flea Allergy Dermatitis

    Flea allergy dermatitis: Caused if your dog is allergic to flea saliva

    If your pup has flea allergy dermatitis, he might show the following signs:

    • Inflamed skin
    • Bald spots
    • Increased licking, scratching and chewing on the skin

    Most dogs with FAD itch along their back or base of their tail and, in turn, they often lose hair in those areas and develop secondary skin infections, which make matters significantly worse, Dr. Oberkirchner said.

    If you notice your dog showing these signs, you should take him to the vet immediately. Theyll be able to prescribe medications that can help him feel better fast.

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    Can A Cat Be Allergic To A Flea

    Cats also can be allergic to fleas. Overview: Animals that have flea allergy dermatitis are hypersensitive to the saliva a flea passes into the skin when it bites. The bite from a single flea will have a minimal affect on a normal animal, but animals with flea allergy will experience immediate itching, redness and swelling.

    Luckily, there are a number of home remedies you can use to treat flea allergy dermatitis and help your pet find relief. An animal with a poor immune system is more likely to have an allergic reaction to flea bites than an animal with a strong immune system.

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    Natural Ways To Fight Fleas

    Apart from treating and preventing flea bites on pets, its far essential to use a program to keep the pets surroundings free from fleas. This may include:

  • Wash The pets bedding with hot water and slight bleach.
  • Use de earth or borax powder in the home under the rugs, carpets, and furnishings to kill fleas and thoroughly vacuum the house after three days of application to remove fleas, larvae, and flea eggs.
  • Using flea foggers, flea bombs, anti-flea sprays, powders, etc. to deal with rugs, carpets, and other places where fleas usually hide.
  • Regular combing is beneficial in finding and putting off fleas.
    • Talk with your vet about starting your dog on medication

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    Outlook And Ongoing Care

    Fortunately, with treatment your cat is likely to live a normal, happy life. Their treatment for FAD will need to be ongoing, but this is likely to be as simple as strict flea control and keeping an eye out for flare-ups. If your cat has a flare-up, contact your vet straight away, before it has a chance to get any worse.


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