Published on February 20, 2014
Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs
What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) is a common skin disease in dogs that have had repeated exposure to flea bites. Here is everything you need to know about flea allergy dermatitis in dogs.
Fleas Fleas seek out a host, a dog or other animal, that will supply them with an abundance of food. They feed on the blood of dogs by puncturing the skin with a needle like apparatus, which allows the fleas to gain access to blood vessels.
Causes The cause of the sensitivity or allergic reaction to flea bites is from the saliva that the flea produces. When a flea bites, it also releases saliva and injects it into the skin at the moment the bite happens. The saliva irritates the skin causing Itching and other symptoms.
Symptoms Dogs usually show signs and symptoms of flea allergy dermatitis between the ages of 1 year to 3 years. Symptoms include severe itching, licking, biting, scratching, lesions, scabs and hair loss in certain areas of the body. Fleas tend to focus on two main areas of a dog’s body: the abdomen and flank areas.
Diagnosis Conducting a skin inspection of your dog is the first step to diagnosis. Focus on locating fleas, eggs, skin lesions and any other unusual markings on the skin. When the appearance of fleas is detected, visiting a veterinarian is highly recommended for further treatment.
Preventive Steps Popular preventative steps that many pet owners conduct include bathing a dog by submerging it in water up to its neck to drown the fleas. Veterinarians will also recommend specialized flea prevention medications and can provide additional advice to keep the fleas at bay.
Treatment Treatment for flea allergy dermatitis should always come from a licensed veterinarian. Common medicated treatments include antibiotics, antihistamines, cortisone and steroids. Steroids should only be used as a short-term resolution, since they are known to have side effects.
THE BOTTOM LINE Take action and prevent your dog from suffering due to flea allergy dermatitis. An important factor in flea prevention is making sure to treat the entire household.
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