Flea Allergy Dermatitis Cats – Symptoms & Treatment

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What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis?

Flea allergy dermatitis as the name implies is an allergy which affects both cats and dogs. It is a skin condition which occurs when a flea bites a cat and the cat is hypersensitive to the flea’s saliva. Flea saliva contains many antigens which some cats and dogs are very susceptible to. Your cat does not have to have many fleas because just one bite from a flea can trigger an allergic reaction. Flea Allergy Dermatitis is a very itchy and painful disorder and is the most common allergy in cats and dogs.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis is often seasonal with it occurring more often in the warmer summer and fall months. It occurs in direct relation to the period of time when fleas are most prevalent. In warmer countries Flea Allergy Dermatitis can persist year round as fleas tend not to die off in winter. Cooler temperatures and low humidity tend to inhibit flea development.

What are the Symptoms of Flea Allergy Dermatitis?

Symptoms include severe itching and inflammation of the skin. The cat will groom itself for hours and scratch, bite and lick at affected areas often causing damage to the skin. Cats can develop small crusts or scabs on the body (miliary dermatitis). Hair loss may occur mainly on the rump and extending up the back.
Damage done to the skin is a direct result of self mutilation by the cat itself because of the severe itchiness.

Secondary bacterial and yeast infections are common in chronic cases of flea allergy dermatitis and you may notice an unpleasant odor coming from your cat because of this.

What is the Treatment for Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Cats?

It is probably quite obvious that you need to get rid of fleas from your cat. Just one single flea can cause terrible symptoms. Fleas must not only be removed from your cat but also from your house and environment so that the cat is not re-infested. Top spot flea treatments such as Advantage, Revolution. Advocate or Advantage Multi can kill fleas within hours. Highly recommended is Comfortis Tablets for flea control.

Using flea collars and insecticide shampoos is generally a waste of time and money.

Top Spot Flea Treatments

  • Advantage protects against fleas
  • Advantix protects against fleas and ticks
  • Frontline protects against fleas
  • Frontline Plus protects against fleas and ticks
  • Revolution protects against fleas, heartworm, hookworm and ear mites.

Tablets for Flea Control in Cats

Comfortis tablets may be a little expensive but work 100%. Well worth the extra cost.

Comfortis® is the first FDA-approved, chewable, beef-flavored tablet that kills fleas and prevents flea infestations on dogs and cats for a full month.

Comfortis for Cats is:

  • Convenient. Easy to give, with no messy applications
  • Fast. Starts to kill fleas in 30 minutes — before they can lay eggs
  • Effective. Provides full flea protection for a full month

Comfortis has been demonstrated to be safe for CATS 2 pounds or greater, and kittens 14 weeks and older.

Antibiotics and antifungal medication my be prescribed by your vet to treat the secondary bacterial or yeast infections. Your vet may put your cat on a short course of prednisone to relieve the inflammation. Sometimes antihistamines are prescribed. However, the only long term treatment for flea allergy dermatitis is total flea control and not allowing one single flea to come in contact with your cat.
Desensitizing shots tend not to work well with Flea Allergy Dermatitis.

You must be absolutely dedicated to the task of removing all fleas from your cat and the cat’s environment. It is important to treat all of your pets and your home on the same day.

Read more about how to Get Rid of Fleas on your Cat and in your House This article, explains simply how you can get rid of fleas from your cat and the environment.

This article is for information purposes only and is in no way intended to replace veterinary advice.