Flea bite hypersensitivity is a common cause of a severely itchy skin disease in cats and dogs. The itch is caused by an allergic reaction to the flea's saliva which the flea injects into the skin as it feeds. Cats and dogs without this allergic response can tolerate the flea bites, so that they can have fleas and only be mildly itchy. Indeed, there are many cats and dogs without flea allergy that have fleas and show no signs at all. However, in cats and dogs with flea bite hypersensitivity, their skins' reaction to one flea bite is immediate and excessive and this leads to a severe itch for up to one week.
Fleas drive hypersensitive cats and dogs and their skin crazy! It is this hypersensitivity that causes visible signs. Dogs have pink skin, scabby crusts and are biting and scratching at their coat. Hotspots (fast developing dermatitis) can also occur. Cats can develop numerous small crusty lumps, open sores or just hair loss.
For the patient and other pets, we use topical applications once every 2-4 weeks. Ideally it is important to treat all in contact animals (at least within the household). If your dog plays with a large group of other dogs in a situation such as a park, it may be both necessary and beneficial to use topical sprays or systemic tablets in addition to topical spot-on applications.
To control those fleas in the home regularly, thorough vacumming should be performed (including under couches/ tables/ bedding). Once weekly washing of the pets bedding followed by hanging it outside in full sunlight to dry is also recommended. This means your pet may need 2 sets of bedding. In addition you can use a "flea bomb" preparation, but please follow directions closely.
Other common breeding grounds for fleas are "sand beds" and patio areas. These can be treated with outdoor products such as Coopex™ (please follow instructions on packaging).
Did you know we can provide you with 12 months of flea prevention direct to your door? As part of the Total Wellness Plan, an annual healthcare plan for pets, we provide unlimited consultations*, annual vaccinations, monthly parasite control delivered direct to your door and much much more. Join the Total Wellness Plan and start saving on pet care all year round.
*For Classic plan members only.
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