What does a flea allergy look like on a dog
If you do suspect your dog or cat has flea allergy dermatitis, take them to your vet – they will glance for evidence of fleas and may act out a flea elimination trial, skin tests or blood tests.
Bites from just one flea can be enough to trigger intense itching in a pet with FAD, and your vet may diagnose FAD even if fleas or flea dirt (flea faeces) aren’t visible.
Minimising the number of flea bites is the most significant part of managing FAD. You can control fleas year circular with an effective, fast-acting product love Advocate®, Seresto®, Advantix® (dogs only)* or Advantage®, thanks to imidacloprid – the super athletic ingredient, which kills fleas on contact.
This means that fleas don’t need to bite your pet and cause further irritation before the treatment takes effect.3 Once fleas come into contact with your pet, they are affected within 3-5 minutes. Reinfesting adult fleas are killed within 2 hours.4
All pets in the household should be treated whether or not they show signs of flea infestation.
* Advantix – Do not use on cats.
Treating and preventing your pet’s allergies
Once we’ve sure what your pet is allergic to, it’s significant to avoid those substances when possible. Some allergens—like dust—are more hard to avoid than others, but there are ways you can assist to minimize your pet’s exposure.
For example, some pets with environmental allergies might benefit from bathing once per week.
Bathing this often can strip your pet’s skin of its natural oils, though, so be certain to enquire us about shampoos that will assist to moisturize your pet’s skin.
Additionally, you should attempt to hold your pet’s environment as clean as possible to minimize exposure to potential allergens. Clean bedding, curtains, and flooring often.
All pets, but especially those that struggle with flea allergies, should be given a year-round flea preventive medication.
Dogs and cats with more severe allergies might also benefit from:
- Fatty acid supplements
- Short-term steroid therapy
- Immune-modulating medications
- Allergy injections
With so numerous diverse allergens, types of allergic reactions, and potential treatments, it’s significant to call our office at 256-859-2221 for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Do not attempt to diagnose your pet’s condition on your own, and only give your pet medications we recommend.
Flea bites expose pets to flea saliva – which some pets become allergic to over time. This allergic reaction is known as flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD.
FAD is an allergic skin condition that mostly affects pets aged over one year and commonly occurs in dogs and cats with underlying skin diseases love atopic dermatitis.1, 2 Pets with FAD can damage their skin by constantly scratching, biting or licking, and this damage can lead to secondary infection.
Dermatology Fact Sheets
What About Allergies?
Allergies are one of the most common causes of skin problems in dogs, cats and horses.
Dogs commonly manifest allergies with itchy skin, licking repetitively at their feet and/or recurrent ear and skin infections. Horse often get hives and can be itchy and cats can lose their hair from over grooming or cause significant self trauma as a result of allergies.
The dermatologists at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital work closely with owners to attempt and determine what their pet is allergic to and figure out the best way to tailor therapy for that animal. This often includes evaluating for any secondary infections of the skin, treating any identified infections, looking for any evidence of external parasite problems and establishing strict ectoparasite control to meet that animal’s lifestyle.
Elimination diet trials can determine if an animal has a food allergy and allergy testing via skin tests or blood tests can determine what should go into allergy shots for pets proven to be allergic to pollen and molds in the environment. There are numerous therapies available for managing animals with skin allergies and successful management often involves finding the correct combination of therapies. This is something that the dermatologists at the clinic are particularly skilled at doing.
Chronic ear infections in dogs and cats may result from ongoing allergies, but there are a number of other factors that can cause chronic ear infections. The Dermatology Service staff use video otoscopy and, if needed, CT scans to better assess the patient with chronic ear disease.
In addition to managing animals with skin allergies, our dermatologists can diagnose and manage auto-immune skin diseases, infectious skin diseases (fungal, bacterial, mycobacterial and viral) and numerous forms of skin cancer.
The diagnosis of numerous of these diseases may require that we take a sample from the skin for culture of organisms or a biopsy for analysis by a pathologist.
Fleas and Flea Allergy Dermatitis
The adult cat flea spends most of its time living on cats and dogs. Fleas lay eggs on the animals, but these eggs rapidly drop off the pets and are distributed in the parts of the environment where the pets spend most of their time. The eggs hatch into larvae which evolve into pupae (cocoons) emerging in the future as adult fleas. For one adult flea found on your pet there are at least one hundred immature fleas in the animal’s environment.
Flea allergy is the most common cause of itching and scratching in the dog and cat.
When the flea bites your pet, it injects a little quantity of saliva into the skin. Dogs and cats can develop an allergy to this saliva and will react to it with severe itching and scratching. This itching sensation may final for up to two weeks after the final flea bites.
In the dog, the most commonly observed signs of flea allergy are: biting and scratching around the rump, tailbase, and groin area; «hot spots;» and secondary skin infections. Cats may show flea bite allergy more subtly. You may see areas of hair loss and scratching, but more often you will feel little scabs and bumps around their necks and below their backs (miliary dermatitis).
It may seem confusing to hear that your dog or cat has flea allergy dermatitis if you never see fleas.
This is mainly due to the fact that your pet has a remarkable capacity to chase and subsequently eat the fleas! You may also discover evidence of fleas on your pet by using a fine comb and brushing out the «flea dirt» that they leave behind. This «dirt» looks love little black dots, and is the excrement of the flea. When placed on wet paper, it dissolves in red streaks because it contains partially digested blood.
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution for flea allergy, nor is there a magical medication.
The only long-term efficacious and safe therapy for flea allergy dermatitis is to hold your pet from being bitten by fleas. This may seem love an impossible task, but it is not. Remember, successful resolution of the flea-allergic animal’s distress requires that the fewest number of fleas bite your pet.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FLEA CONTROL
The control of fleas is an ongoing process, but once started, it is not hard to sustain. The following recommendations will assist you in this control, but you should remember that they are simply guidelines. The flea control program you use must be tailored to your individual situation.
Just as we are constantly updating our protocol, you will need to change yours as new products become available and the efficacy of those now in use are altered by time of year, location, and reformulation.
The products listed in this handout are some carried by the hospital pharmacy. We do not endorse any specific brand-name product. Our intention is to recommend a specific athletic ingredient for use, and we use the products that we stock as examples.
We recommend the use of an adulticide product for every dogs and cats in the households. The newer veterinary «spot-on» products offer both safety and convenience.
These products own been shown to be extremely effective when used as instructed. They are not absorbed into your pet’s bloodstream (they stay in the skin), making them extremely safe. Advantage(r) (imidacloprid), Frontline Plus(r) (fipronil and methoprene) and K9Advantix(tm) (imidacloprid and permethrin) are currently available at the Little Animal Clinic. Precise dosage is based on the dog’s weight. These products are applied by parting the hair between the shoulder blades and below the back, applying the little quantity of liquid onto the skin.
Application frequency varies with the product and bathing needs. These products are most often applied every 2-4 weeks. It is recommended that you apply the spot-on treatment 1-2 days after bathing. Depending on the product, fleas contacting your pet will die within 12-36 hours after exposure to the spot-on product. Frontline Plus(r), Frontline(r) Spray (fipronil) and K9Advantix(tm) are also effective for the dog tick and can safely be used on puppies older than 8 weeks. K9Advantix(tm) can be used safely on puppies 7 weeks of age and older.
K9Advantix(tm) is toxic for cats and should NOT be used in households with cats.
Advantage(r) can be safely used on puppies 7 weeks or older.
Revolution(r) (selamectin) is a «spot on» product that is absorbed into the body. Revolution(r) is effective against heartworms, scabies mites, and a variety of intestinal parasites as well as fleas. Revolution(r), once absorbed into the body, works on fleas by secretion onto the skin by the sebaceous glands. Revolution(r) is safe to use on puppies and kittens over 6 weeks of age.
An oral flea adulticide, Capstar(r) (nitenpyram) is also available.
Capstar(r) is a extremely safe, short acting oral tablet which can be given daily or every other day for routine flea control, or used additionally with other products. Capstar(r) is safe to use daily, or can be used as a «rescue» drug to kill fleas should they be seen on dogs and cats older than 4 weeks and at least 2 pounds of body weight. Capstar(r) begins working within seven minutes and kills fleas immediately after the first blood meal is taken. Capstar(r) is an oral, systemic product and therefore is not affected by bathing or swimming.
Most recently available is a monthly oral flea adulticide, Comfortis(tm) (spinosad). Comfortis(tm) is a chewable flavored tablet approved for use in dogs only, 14 weeks of age and older.
Comfortis ™ achieves full effectiveness within 4 hours and kills fleas immediately after the first blood meal is taken.
Two other veterinary products recently available for dogs are Vectra 3D(tm) (dinotefuran, permethrin and pyriproxyfen) and Promeris(tm) for dogs (metaflumizone and amitraz). The hospital is not yet carrying these products, but they may be available through your veterinarian or at the hospital in the future. Vectra 3D(tm) is a spot-on product safe for use on dogs and puppies 7 weeks of age and older. Vectra 3D(tm) is toxic to cats and should not be used in households with cats.
This product kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, and contains pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator which prevents development of flea eggs and larva. Vectra 3D(tm) is recommended for monthly application. Promeris(tm) for dogs is another topical spot on product safe for dogs and puppies only, 8 weeks of age and older. Promeris(tm) for dogs kills fleas and ticks and is effective for up to 6 weeks, though recommended for monthly application.
If you own cats, they must be involved in the flea control program even if they are not exhibiting any problems, or they will carry the fleas to your home, yard, and dogs.
Cats are much more sensitive to the chemicals in flea preparations, and numerous insecticides cannot be used on them. We recommend Revolution(r) (selamectin), Frontline Plus(r) (fipronil and methoprene) or Advantage(r) (imidacloprid) in the feline formulation. A newer product not currently available at the clinic is Promeris(tm) (metaflumizone) for cats. Promeris(tm) for cats is safe to use on cats and kittens 8 weeks of age and older.
Though recommended for monthly application, this product shows activity against fleas for up to 6 weeks. Every these products are applied in a similar fashion as in dogs. Beginning at the base of the head, part the hair and spread the little quantity of liquid below the top of the neck. Application also varies from two to four week intervals, depending on other treatments. Please follow the instructions outlined for your pet. Capstar(r) (nitenpyram) is also safe for use in cats as a «quick kill» in the event fleas are seen, or can be given every one to two days for routine flea control if an oral product is desirable.
CONTROL OF JUVENILE FLEAS
Several life stages happen before a flea becomes a biting adult.
Some of these juvenile stages are also targets for flea control. Decreasing the numbers of immature (juvenile) fleas is an excellent way to assist prevent adult fleas and their bites. Recent research has led to the release of several products that interrupt the life cycle of the flea. Often these products are used in combination to quickly and effectively decrease the flea burden of your pet. Synthetic juvenile flea growth hormone imitators are found in numerous flea products. Methoprene (Precor(r)) is contained in Frontline Plus(r) as well as numerous of the indoor area treatments. Knockout(r) (pyriproxifen) is formulated in a collar for cats and dogs that contains a similar flea growth regulator and is effective for 13 months.
Unlike other flea collars, these destroy only the young stages and are fairly effective and convenient. Knockout flea spray (for dogs only) contains a synthetic pyrethroid plus pyriproxifen and can be used safely on dogs every 1-3 weeks. Vectra 3D(tm) also contains pyriproxyfen as one of its athletic ingredients. Every of these synthetic hormones are extremely safe to use on animals and around humans. They prevent the adult female flea from laying viable eggs and prevent immature fleas from developing into adults.
Program(r) (Lufenuron) is an oral chewable tablet available for both dogs and cats that is given monthly with food.
As the adult female flea feeds on the dog or cat, the female flea lays eggs that cannot hatch and larvae that will not survive. This product is extremely safe, but flea-allergic animals also need protection from the biting adults. Program(r) is best used in combination with a topical flea adulticide or Capstar(r). Another formulation available is lufenuron in combination with milbemycin, a monthly heartworm preventative. This product, called Sentinel(r) is also given monthly with a full meal.
Most other forms of flea control on your pet own been scientifically shown to be ineffective. Flea shampoos will only kill the adult fleas but own virtually no residual effect, and will not prevent reinfestation once they are rinsed off.
Insecticidal flea collars alone are ineffective because they are not capable to sustain high enough concentrations of insecticide over the animal’s entire body. Electronic flea collars, brewer’s yeast, garlic, vitamin B tablets, and extracts of eucalyptus or pennyroyal, are not flea repellent, and provide no protection for your pet. Lastly, flea combs, although helpful, are similar in effect to the use of flea shampoos alone: they do not prevent reinfestation.
SIGNS OF TOXICITY
Every flea control products are potentially toxic or may produce unexpected side effects.
Toxicity may result from accidental overdose or unexpected sensitivity. Known side effects, although rare, are vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, sluggishness, weakness, or abnormal behavior. If you suspect that your animal is reacting adversely to a flea control product, stop using the product and consult your veterinarian immediately. If the reaction occurs immediately after application, the product should be rinsed off thoroughly and the animal brought to the veterinarian for evaluation. Adverse reactions may happen from minutes to days following application. Insecticides can be toxic to people; every products should be handled carefully, avoiding direct contact as much as possible.
Hold every products out of the reach of children. Cats are particularly sensitive to numerous pesticides.
Only use products labeled to be safely used on cats. If you own any questions about a product’s safety, please consult your veterinarian.
FLEA CONTROL IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Home and yard treatments need to be concentrated on «source points», areas where pets spend most of their time. This typically would include the bedding and resting areas, the feeding location, etc. You can lessen the flea burden in your home by thorough vacuuming of every source points followed by disposal of the vacuum bag and by washing every animal bedding weekly in boiling water and drying at high heat for twenty minutes. Steam cleaning of rugs and carpeting +/- upholstery is also helpful.
In the yard, focus on areas where your pet(s) spend most of their time.
Typically, fleas survive and reproduce in shaded, moist areas with plant or organic debris (under decks, bushes, etc). Fleas do not survive or reproduce well in sunny, open areas of lawn or patio. Elimination of yard debris will be helpful in reducing flea numbers. You may select to use a professional exterminator service for the treatment of fleas in your home and garden.
By Linda Cole
Responsible pet owners know how significant it is to make certain their pets are treated for fleas.
Unfortunately, some pets own an allergic reaction to a flea’s bite even with flea medication on them. Some reactions can be fairly severe. I own a dog that has an allergic reaction to flea bites. Left untreated, a pet will whine and chew their skin raw, which isn’t excellent for them and can drive you and your pet crazy. My dog has flea allergy dermatitis, also called flea bite allergy.
The first and most significant step in helping a pet who has an allergic reaction to fleas is to make certain they are treated with a quality flea control medication monthly.
Start treatment at least one month before flea season starts and continue it until at least one month after flea season is over. Talk with your vet to determine which flea treatment would be best for your pet.
Fleas don’t actually live on our pets. Most of their life is spent lounging somewhere in the home. Some people assume that if they don’t see fleas on their pet, they don’t own a flea problem, but that’s simply not true. If you don’t discover fleas on your pet at the time you examine them, it doesn’t mean your pet or home is flea free.
If it’s flea season and you own pets, a community of fleas could be hanging out in your home and yard, and using your pet as their own personal diner.
To assist a pet who has flea allergy dermatitis, it’s significant to treat the pet and the home at the same time and attempt to eliminate the little pests completely. The best way to control fleas in the home is to own a pest control service spray monthly during flea season; inside and exterior.
By having an effective flea control on the pet and with an aggressive attack on fleas around the home, you own a excellent chance of getting rid of the fleas.
Pets who suffer from flea allergy dermatitis are so sensitive that just one or two flea bites can cause them to chew on themselves constantly, and won’t stop even when their skin has become raw. You don’t own to own an infestation of fleas for your pet to be miserable.
It’s not the flea bite itself that drives a dog or cat crazy, it’s the saliva of the flea that causes every the itching. Flea bite allergies are the most common type of allergy found in cats and dogs.
Signs of flea allergy dermatitis are constant scratching, chewing, licking and whining. Their skin may be red or even raw from constant scratching and chewing. You can feel bumps on their skin when you run your hand over the area they’ve been chewing on, especially along their back at the base of the tail and along the tail.
You may notice an area where your pet scratched and chewed so much, they own a bare spot or thinning hair in the area. They can develop boiling spots on their face or other parts of their body, and you are apt discover flea debris in the area. The debris looks love little pieces of dried blood because that’s exactly what it is.
Flea bite allergy can cause secondary infections if left untreated, so it’s up to us as responsible pet owners to make certain to tackle a flea problem aggressively and use every of the weapons available to us during flea season.
Keep your pet’s bedding clean. Vacuum regularly where your pet sleeps, along baseboards, and move furniture so you can vacuum under it.
Remove sofa and chair cushions and vacuum thoroughly underneath them. Dispose of the vacuum bag after each vacuuming and if your vacuum has no bag, dump the dirt out into a little trash bag and seal it before throwing it away. You don’t desire any of your captured fleas to escape back into the home.
If your pet shows signs of having any adverse reaction to fleas even with flea medication on them, talk with your vet. They can recommend a flea control product that might work better for your pet and they can also advise you on other products you can use to assist relieve their itching.
You desire to make certain to use flea control that kills adult fleas and has an insect growth regulator (IGR) which will kill immature fleas before they own a chance to mature into adults.
Flea allergy dermatitis can drive both you and your pet crazy. Start your fight against fleas before they own a chance to attack your pet or invade your home.
Read more articles by Linda Cole
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Spring is in the air, and that means so are a number of seasonal allergens that could be making you and your pet miserable. That’s right: Our pets can suffer the effects of allergies, too. And, love us, if an animal is sensitive to something in his environment or a food he eats, his body will produce antibodies in an attempt to protect itself.
Those antibodies release chemicals into the bloodstream, including histamine, which act on the skin, ears, eyes, throat, nose, and gastrointestinal tract, producing the unpleasant symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Your pet could react to a number of potential allergens in his environment. Some of the most common include:
- Prescription medications
- Cleaning products
- Cat litters
- Grasses, trees, weeds, plants, pollens, molds, or mildews
- Dust or dander
- Various food ingredients, love corn, wheat, soy, or meat products
- Cigarette smoke
Diagnosing your pet’s allergies
If your pet is showing signs of a possible allergic reaction, call our office.
To diagnose your pet’s condition and determine the specific allergen(s), we’ll conduct a thorough exam, including any appropriate blood or skin tests.
If we suspect your pet is allergic to a food ingredient, we’ll recommend an elimination diet to determine the specific ingredient he should avoid.
Some pets with severe allergies may be referred to a veterinary dermatologist for more in-depth allergy skin testing and treatment.
How will you know if your pet is suffering from allergies? Watch for problems in the following four areas:
Pet allergy symptom #2: Problems with the ears
Dogs are especially prone to allergy-related ear problems.
What may start as itchy or irritated ears could escalate into a serious ear infection.
- Frequent head shaking
- Hair loss around the ears
- Scratching at the ears
- Discharge (often with an unpleasant odor) coming from the ears
Pet allergy symptom #3: Problems with the respiratory system
Many humans who suffer from allergies—especially environmental allergies—will experience respiratory symptoms similar to those of a freezing. Although less common than allergic dermatitis, our pets can experience similar respiratory-related allergy symptoms.
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Snoring (due to inflammation of the throat)
Pet allergy symptom #1: Problems with the skin
When a pet’s allergic reaction is skin-related, we call the condition allergic dermatitis.
The most common reaction pets own when exposed to allergens, allergic dermatitis leads to skin irritation and inflammation. Pets with allergic dermatitis will obsessively attempt to relieve their inflamed and itchy skin.
- Excessive scratching and/or chewing at specific areas of the body
- Rubbing against furniture and other objects
- Open sores, scabbing, and hair loss around the affected areas
When allergic dermatitis is caused by an allergy to fleas, we call it flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).
When a flea bites an animal, it injects saliva under the animal’s skin. Flea bites will cause any animal to feel itchy and uncomfortable, but numerous animals are hypersensitive to the flea saliva and will own an allergic reaction when bitten.
FAD causes a longer, more intense reaction (up to 2 weeks after a bite) than typical itching associated with flea bites.
- Rash or raised bumps that might resemble pimples
- Hair loss
- Irritated, raw, or bleeding areas as a result of excessive scratching, biting, or grooming (dogs often experience this near their back legs, stomach, or tail, but cats will generally experience this around the neck and face)
Pet allergy symptom #4: Problems with the gastrointestinal system
Food allergies are often the culprit when a pet has a gastrointestinal allergic reaction.
- Excessive gas
- Scooting or redness around the anus
What does FAD glance like?
The most common sign of FAD in dogs and cats is intense itchiness, but there are others to watch for:
- Spending a lot of time grooming, chewing, biting, licking and scratching themselves or rubbing their skin against objects
- 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
- Hair may be stained brown from licking – especially obvious in white pets
- Appearing restless and uncomfortable
- Skin changes in cats: hair loss and rash typically involving the back half of the body (belly and back), hind legs (inner and back surfaces), back of the neck, and less commonly on the head
It’s also significant to glance for damage to your pet’s skin that can lead to secondary infections (reddened, moist areas called “hot spots”) that will exacerbate the itching.1,2