Flea Allergy Dermatitis - How to Contain it
Understanding Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Flea allergy dermatitis is a skin disease that is caused by the allergic reaction your pet has to flea bites. In its literal sense, the word “derm” means “skin” and “itis” means “inflammation”. The disease may manifest as miliary dermatitis in cats.
- Signs of Flea Allergy Dermatitis
A pet suffering from flea allergy dermatitis will generally show several signs of the problem. Aside from having inflamed skin, your pet’s skin may be red, hot to the touch and be particularly itchy. The skin also frequently becomes smelly due to the yeast and bacteria that grows on this inflamed and unhealthy skin. To make matters worse, scratching and chewing the inflamed area by your pet, breaks the skin and bacteria gets rubbed deeper into the skin layers. This causes more severe infection to occur and papules, pustules and crusts develop.
- Developing Flea Allergy Dermatitis
A cat or dog that has flea allergy dermatitis is very sensitive to flea bites. In fact, most pets with the allergy will develop signs even if they are bitten only twice a month by fleas. Allergans in the saliva of the flea cause this reaction.
Flea Allergy dermatitis is the most common skin condition seen in pets. Skin problems are the reason for about one in five veterinary visits with the main problem being flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). In fact, fleas cause this allergic reaction more often than any other insect. Food allergies are the most common cause of year-round allergies but flea allergy dermatitis is the most common form of seasonal itching in pets.
- Risk Factors for Flea Allergy Dermatitis
All pets are at risk for developing flea allergy dermatitis. Some pets however, have a genetic pre-disposition toward developing allergies. In the United States, the dogs that are most likely to develop flea allergy dermatitis are Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians, English Bulldogs, English Setters, Irish Setters, Miniature Schnauzers, Lhasa Apsos and Pugs. Various breeds of terriers, such as West Highland White Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Boston Terriers and Wire-haired Fox Terriers are also more likely to have the problem.
It is also possible for cats to develop flea allergy dermatitis but there are no specific breeds that are more inclined to develop the problem.
The best way to help a pet with flea allergy dermatitis is to prevent fleas. There are many different forms of medications such as Frontline Plus that can help kill fleas on cats and dogs. Flea shampoos such as Killyptus Flea and Tick Shampoo and Petgloss Insecticidal Shampoo can also help kill fleas and prevent them from reoccurring. Dips such as Permoxin and Fidos Fre-Itch Rinse Concentrate can also be helpful. For pets who have already experienced irritation from their allergy, there are a variety of creams that can be applied to the area to help bring relief and encourage healing.