Flea allergy dermatitis – it’s not a life-threatening disease, but it’s so uncomfortable that it’s worth while talking about it. It is an exaggerated allergic reaction of the immune system after the contact with some components of flea saliva. Animals which usually have a massive flea infestation develop a certain tolerance over time, while those who come in contact with these ectoparasites occasionally are more sensitive. There is no predisposition for species, breed, age or sex, and animals can develop such an allergy over time, so do not be surprised if your pet who has never had dermatological problems suddenly develops such an allergy.
Pruritus is certainly the most obvious symptom in this case; intense and extremely stressful for the animal. It can manifest itself especially in the lumbosacral area, at the base of the tail, on the inside of the thighs, on the belly, or on the neck. Because of the excessive scratching, the hair deteriorates and falls, and after a while the scars may appear to be over-infected with bacteria and fungi, and the skin becomes hard, black with an oily appearance. Sometimes the extremely aggressive scratching of some patients scares the owners and worries them more than necessary.
Diagnosis of flea allergy dermatitis is based primarily on symptomatology, and secondly on the detection of fleas or flea feces. These are black dots and are found on the fur. Their presence confirms the existence of fleas. The faeces contain digested blood, and to be sure, we can do a simple test, namely put on a piece of moisted white paper, dissolve it and you can notice that it turns into some tiny red spots. In massive infestations, the diagnosis is obvious, but it often happens that the infestation is reduced to 1-2 fleas and then the diagnosis becomes a little more complicated, but not impossible.
Therapy is mainly about eliminating the cause, so removing parasites from the animal, and very important – from the environment in which the animal lives (cage, blanket, basket). Since fleas are present throughout the year, do not neglect to keep them away even during the cold season. The second step is the treatment of the pruritus with cortisone and antihistamines, with the indication that their administration can not be done for a long period of time. In more serious cases, bacterial or fungal complications also require specific treatment. In addition, fatty acid products administered both orally and locally (shampoos) can be of real use.
Of course, it is not easy to keep away fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, especially in big cities where the green areas are a continuing source of parasites, and the choice of quality products sometimes becomes difficult from the multitude of existing ones on the market. That is why we can together create a parasitic prophylaxis plan customed to your animal’s life to keep it as healthy as possible. Whenever you need an advice or you have questions regarding this topic and not only, you can come in our clinic to visit us.