Once Bitten: Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Do you have an itchy dog or cat? Does your dog have a bald spot right above the base of their tail that they commonly scratch at — sometimes until it bleeds? Do they always seem to be twisted into some weird curlicue shape trying to obsessively lick, bite and scratch at it?

I think I know what’s going on: your pet probably has an allergy to the saliva of fleas — or flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), as veterinarians call it.

For your dog or cat, it’s a literal pain in the butt.

Folks love to blame food (especially corn) for their dog’s itchy misery, but the truth is that it’s way more likely to be flea bites than bites of food. And, luckily, it is easy to keep fleas off your pet’s backside and avoid this problem.

Here’s how FAD develops: Fleas dine on blood, and once flowing, blood soon clots. Sneaky fleas have developed a way to keep the blood coming while they suck it out of your pet — their saliva is a natural blood thinner that prevents clotting until they’ve had their fill. The problem is that after lots of flea bites, your pet’s immune system says “Hey, quit it!!” and develops an allergy to the saliva.

Once that happens, your pet is locked into a perpetual cycle of “bite, scratch, itch” that repeats over and over. After the bite, your pet works and chews at the itchy area and damages the skin — the same way you might scratch at a mosquito bite until it’s much bigger than it initially was. Infection soon sets in to the damaged skin and not much itches more than infected skin — so they keep scratching! You can see how this cycle could soon get out of control and lead to lots of skin damage and misery for your pet.

It only takes one bite to set this cycle up for as long as two weeks. Most owners of pets with FAD claim they never see fleas on their pets and there are several reasons for this:

  • Fleas are masters at hiding amongst the hair follicles.
  • Fleas are tiny little things — not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.
  • They often live on the belly, where you may not be looking.
  • There may only be a few fleas on your pet, but that’s plenty to start the allergic reaction going!

Prevention is easy, important and keeps a flea from biting, thus starting the whole process. Nip fleas in the bud to keep your dog or cat form getting nipped in the butt! Dead fleas don’t bite: just apply once monthly topical SENTRY Fiproguard Plus IGR and fleas are history. No flea, no flea bites — and no flea allergy dermatitis. It’s that easy!

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