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Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Hot Spots

When is a flea bite more than a flea bite? When your pet has a sensitivity known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). All animals will be irritated by fleas, which cause localized itching whenever they bite. But for some pets, a flea bite can cause more intense itching for up to two weeks afterward. This is due to an allergy to the flea’s saliva, which is injected into your pet’s skin as the flea feeds. As well as the continued itching, FAD may also cause rashes, raw skin, raised red bumps and hair loss.

Diagnosing

If you suspect that your pet might have FAD, the first thing to do is to check for the presence of fleas. This can be done by using a flea comb, which will help you to examine your pet’s fur for adult fleas or ‘flea dirt’. Flea dirt is actually flea feces, which appears as small specks of dark dirt.

The problem with this is that many pets, especially cats, will groom their coat clean of fleas and flea dirt. The best method of obtaining a diagnosis for flea allergy dermatitis is with a visit to your vet, who can perform a skin allergy test.

Hot spots

Flea allergy dermatitis can be one of the main triggers for the development of hot spots. A hot spot is a bacterial infection of the skin that develops after the animal has scratched continuously in the same area. Although not life-threatening, hot spots can cause your pet incredible pain and distress, with inflames skin, open sores and hair loss.

Treating the hot spot

Regardless of the cause of the hot spot, the treatment is the same. You need to provide airflow to the infected skin by shaving or cutting the surrounding hair. Then the wound needs to be cleaned using an antibacterial product, then treated regularly until the infection clears and the skin heals. Your vet may also prescribe a course of antihistamines to prevent itching, or antibiotics to clear the infection.

You will also need to prevent your animal from scratching the skin further. In the case of flea allergy dermatitis, this means eliminating the offending parasites.

Flea prevention

It should go without saying that the best way to avoid the problems of flea allergy dermatitis is to eliminate flea infestations. Getting rid of fleas can be more complicated than you think, due to their fast breeding cycle, and will require you to treat both your pet and your home.

If your pet has flea allergy dermatitis, you will want to be particularly vigilant about regular flea medication. When given monthly, topical treatments such as Revolution or chewables like NexGard will provide year-round protection.


Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Hot Spots

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