Flea Bite Dermatitis in Dogs: Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Reactions to Fleas
As a flea bites into a dog's flesh, it leaves behind saliva. Some dogs will have an allergic reaction to the salivary deposit and become hypersensitive to the fluid. When this happens, the resulting condition is known as Flea Bite Dermatitis, or Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). It's difficult to believe that something so very small can cause a pet such enormous suffering, but by acknowledging the problem, you can begin to take steps to solve it.
Signs of Allergic Reaction to Fleas
The symptoms of FAD are quite similar to a normal flea infestation, just intensified. An itchy canine will attempt to relieve his extreme discomfort by biting and scratching at his fur and flesh. Because of the inordinate amount of time a dog will spend trying to rid himself of the itch, you may not find many fleas or flea feces in their fur. As your dog excessively grooms himself, he begins to damage his skin, leading to patchy hair loss and sores. Oozing ulcers, sometimes referred to as hot spots, can leave your dog open to serious infections from bacteria or yeast.
Obtain a Proper Diagnosis
If you notice your dog experiencing these symptoms, it's time to visit the vet. By obtaining a proper diagnosis, your veterinarian can rule out other diseases, such as lice, mites or mange that may have similar symptoms. The vet will most likely perform a skin test as part of his examination to determine the exact cause of the dermatitis. During the time your dog was chewing at his itchy spots, he may have swallowed fleas. If the flea was a carrier or host for tapeworms, the tapeworms will then infect your dog. A fecal test should be performed so the dog can be treated for tapeworms as well. If your dog is infected, tapeworms can cause weight loss and additional health problems.
Treatment and Prevention
Depending on the severity of the Flea Allergy Dermatitis, the doctor may suggest antibiotics to clear up any skin infections. Additionally, you can support your dog's skin recovery with natural products and a wholesome diet. Clearing the fleas from your dog and home should be the next step. Using products such that contain ingredients such as Fipronil, (S)-methoprene, imidacloprid, or selamectin may cause dangerous side effects. Seek first natural remedies that can be used to wash away fleas, lice and ticks from your dog safely. Thorough vacuuming is also recommended to further aid in the eradication of these allergy-causing pests. By following these measures, in a short period of time your canine companion will be enjoying life again, healthy and pest-free!
Photo Credit: Markles55