Flea Bite Dermatitis in Cats: Flea Allergy Signs and Symptoms
Fleas are a common occurrence in cats; most cat owners know if and when their cat has fleas, and how to most effectively treat them. However, some cats have a more severe reaction to the usually annoying fleas. Cats with flea bite dermatitis experience serious allergic reactions to the presence of fleas and flea bites.
Symptoms of Flea Bite Dermatitis
Dermatitis refers to skin inflammation; therefore cats with dermatitis from flea bites experience more severe symptoms. Symptoms of an allergic reaction in cats includes itching, coughing, sneezing and wheezing, nasal or eye discharge, vomiting or diarrhea. Specific responses depend on the allergen. Cats that are allergic to flea bites most commonly experience a loss of weight, loss of fur and severe itching. Their fur may fall out, and they may appear to be covered in black dirt.
Don't Fleas Make All Cats Itch?
Contrary to popular opinion, fleas don't bother most cats. A cat can be infested with fleas and only experience minor itching.
Why Is My Cat Allergic To Fleas?
Cats are allergic to the saliva of the fleas. When the flea bites a cat, its saliva is transmitted to the cat's skin. Even one bite can make an allergic cat itch violently. Your cat will react by itching, licking or chewing on the itchy area. The constant itching and chewing can open wounds on the cat's skin which may become infected or scab over. Frequent licking will eventually remove the hair from the skin. Many allergic cats will focus on their legs.
Treating a Flea Allergy
See your veterinarian as soon as possible. They may recommend a flea shampoo, spray or shot. You may need to use more than one product, or use one product a few times. Take caution when using a flea collar; cats allergic to fleas are often allergic to flea collars as well. Clean the cat's environment. If your cat lives indoors, be sure to vacuum regularly and thoroughly and wash curtains and couch covers. You may need to use a flea bomb, but be careful as these can trigger an attack in an asthmatic. Wash all bedding and wash your cat's bedding frequently. Spray outdoors where your cat hangs out.
Preventing Another Flea Infestation
It's important to prevent flea infestation in general and even more so for an allergic cat. Vacuuming regularly and washing your cat's bedding frequently are two very important steps. Don't forget to regularly wash your cat, too. A monthly pill can help your pet, but as these pills only prevent fleas from reproducing, your pet will still need more attention. A fine-toothed comb is enjoyable to kitty and can remove fleas from its body. If your cat has a flea allergy, consider the natural product Defendex to kill fleas with a non-toxic formula and protect it from future outbreaks of fleas and the annoyance of flea bites.