Animals can be allergic to many different things.
However, flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most common causes of pet allergies seen by veterinarians. It occurs as a result of a specific protein that is found in flea saliva that some animals are hypersensitive to. In fact, flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) can be so intense that just a bite from a single flea can be sufficient to cause your pet to suffer from extreme symptoms for as long as a fortnight.
But, how do you know if your pet is allergic to fleas? Here are the top 5 signs that you need to be aware of.
Your Pet Cannot Stop Scratching
Some itching and scratching are completely normal for a furry pet. However, if your pet seems to do nothing but scratch himself or is scratching super-aggressively and without any regard for the condition of his skin, then there is a good chance that he is allergic to flea saliva.
Your Pet Has Sore, Broken, and Infected Skin
When an animal is allergic to fleas, the irritation can be so great that they simply can't leave their skin alone, even when they can see and feel that they are damaging it. It is extremely common for pets with FAD to suffer from sore, broken skin that becomes infected once bacteria enter the wounds. It can look red, swollen, and inflamed, be hot to the touch, and oozing with pus. If the skin is infected, antibiotics will be needed alongside medications to help get your pet's immune system back under control.
Your Pet Has Hair Loss
Have you noticed any bald patches on your pet's body? Hair loss is a very common side effect of FAD. Even if there is no actual damage to the skin itself, persistent scratching can cause trauma to the hair follicles, causing hair loss. His coat should eventually grow back, but not until the fleas have been dealt with and he is no longer dealing with intense irritation.
Your Pet is Grooming Excessively
All pets groom themselves, some more than others. However, if your pet suddenly seems to be paying a lot more attention to taking care of himself than before it could be because his skin is highly irritated. Repeatedly licking, biting, and chewing the area can alleviate some of the irritation as well as releasing endorphins that will help your furbaby feel a little bit better about the discomfort he has been experiencing.
Your Pet Only Has a Few Fleas
While no number of fleas can be considered a good thing, if your pet is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above but on examination is found to have only a few fleas, he is almost certainly suffering from FAD. In typical flea infestations, animals only react severely if they have a large number of fleas living on their body and their tickling legs are causing irritation. However, FAD is an auto-immune response that experts liken to being as much as 10 times as severe in terms of the reaction it creates. Therefore, a single bite can be enough to cause unbearable itchiness for your furbaby.
Whether you suspect your pet is allergic to fleas or not, our Pelham veterinarians recommend that you take positive action to ensure that your pet is protected against them at all times using one of the many different preventatives that are widely available at pet stores and animal clinics across the country. These are extremely effective if administered correctly and on time, every time.
If you would like more information on flea allergies, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for advice on flea preventatives for your pet, please contact Oak View Animal Hospital in Pelham, AL and call us today at (205) 988-3559 where our team would be happy to help.