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How Flea Allergy Dermatitis Can Make Your Pet Miserable

Your orange tabby Sadie is a sweet-tempered girl who always keeps you entertained. Sadie likely has more cat toys than some pet stores, and she delights in chasing her dangling feathered birds and wind-up mice around the living room. Lately, though, Sadie hasn’t been playing with her cat toys much; instead, she’s been obsessively licking and scratching herself. Sadie has also been repeatedly grooming herself in the same spot. You don’t think Sadie has fleas, as she always wears her flea collar. However, it’s possible Sadie could have experienced an allergic reaction to one or two flea bites before the little culprits died. You’ve asked your Highland veterinarian to see if Sadie has a nasty case of flea allergy dermatitis.

Unappealing Symptoms

Poor Sadie might be the victim of FAD, or flea allergy dermatitis, which affects dogs and cats differently. Sadie’s skin might look normal even though she clearly has lost some hair from licking herself silly. Sadie’s hair loss, and some ugly red crusty patches, will generally become apparent on your cat’s back. However, your dog Toby will show several related symptoms. You’ll see Toby’s thickening, reddish skin, hair loss, and a few “hot spots” around his rump and tail. Toby’s symptoms might even extend to his thighs and stomach.

Simple Source

If Sadie and Toby are susceptible to FAD, they’re very sensitive to flea saliva, transmitted to your pet’s skin from each flea bite. FAD-sensitive pets develop an unbearable itching that’s far worse than most pets experience. To add insult to injury, FAD-sensitive pets only have to be bitten once to suffer these extreme effects.

Straightforward Diagnosis

If your vet sees live fleas, or notices flea droppings (also called flea dirt), he knows fleas are holding conventions on Sadie’s skin. Even if your vet can’t locate the fleas, he can diagnose flea allergy dermatitis by studying Sadie’s skin lesions.

Targeted Treatment

First, Sadie’s flea bites need to stop. Your vet will select an effective control product formulated especially for cats. While you’d apply a topical product at the same time each month, your vet might opt for a tablet that’s absorbed into Sadie’s bloodstream.

Even if Toby and your other furry family members aren’t affected by FAD, get them all on an appropriate flea control program. Remember, don’t ever use dog-intended products on Sadie or any other cat, as this can cause a potentially fatal reaction. Finally, it’s possible Sadie might still be itching and scratching after you’ve closed down the flea convention. To give Sadie some relief, your Highland vet might prescribe anti-inflammatory medications that will make her more comfortable.

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