It’s that time of year again when pet owners need to be on the lookout for all the little pests that cause our pets grief. Fleas, ticks, mites and the like can cause miserable symptoms in your cat or dog, and what’s worse, they can even cause allergies that get worse with each passing year. Flea allergies are quite common in pets, but left untreated can become a huge problem.
Flea Allergies and Symptoms
Flea allergies are quite common in pets. They typically start when the animal is still young and get worse as time goes on. It is believed that the saliva passed through the bite of an adult flea is the culprit of the symptoms experienced by the host pet. Symptoms include:
- Severe itching – this is probably the first indication you’ll have that your pet has fleas
- Hair loss
In most cases, the hind quarters of the animal is most affected, but other areas of the body can be affected as well. In severe allergic cases, lesions may form. You may or may not see actual fleas or flea dirt (flea excrement).
Diagnosis and Treatment Of Flea Allergies
If you suspect your pet has a flea infestation, use a flea comb to check his coat for evidence of the fleas themselves or flea dirt. If no evidence is found, a trip to the vet might be necessary for a skin test. You can also simply treat the animal with an over-the-counter flea medication to see if that cures the problem.
Treating and preventing future infestations is vital if your pet has an allergy to flea bites. There are several good flea medications on the market that kill adult fleas, but they must be repeated regularly to be effective in preventing future infestations. Flea collars, spot-on treatments, and oral medications work well for flea control. It is also a good idea to bathe your pet regularly with a flea shampoo.
If your pet does have flea allergies, he may need antihistamines or steroids to reduce his sensitivity to flea bites. In addition, if he already has sores or lesions from scratching and biting, he may develop a secondary bacterial infection that requires antibiotics. It’s always a good idea to follow up with your vet with any questions you may have in treating flea bites and flea allergies.
Once you know your pet has flea allergies, you can prepare ahead of time by taking preventative measures to ensure his allergies don’t flare up.
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