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Symptoms of Flea Allergy Dermatitis

By Gina Carey. July 05, 2012 | See Comments

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Symptoms of Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Dogs who are hypersensitive to flea bites will have stronger reactions and more pronounced symptoms. Learn the symptoms here to protect your dog.

When fleas bite a dog for its blood meal, most dogs will show discomfort, itch, and have small red bumps on their skin. Dogs who are hypersensitive to flea bites, however, will have stronger reactions and more pronounced symptoms. Just one or two flea bites spread over one or two weeks can cause severe itchiness in hypersensitive dogs.

Symptoms of flea allergies include:

Skin reactions

Flea allergies cause pruritis, or severe itching of the skin. Reaction to the flea saliva may manifest as redness, pimple-like bumps, pus-filled bumps, or scabs. In severe cases, dogs may have hair loss and skin rash. Hotspots, or painful red, circular sores that often ooze, may appear on a dog’s backside or tail base.Typically, a dog’s hind body is most affected by flea allergy, though lesions can appear anywhere. Check thoroughly around your dog’s lower back, tail, neck, and the backs of legs for skin reactions.

Constant itching

Dogs with pruritis will frequently itch and scratch their bodies. This behavior will exacerbate the symptoms, and could lead to secondary bacterial infection. Dogs may also chew, lick, or bite their tails, legs, and behinds. While some itching is normal, be on the lookout for excessive itching accompanied by skin damage. Dogs with a hypersensitivity to flea saliva also tend to groom and lick their hair obsessively.

Evidence of fleas

If you notice evidence of flea dirt or signs that your dog has fleas, then flea allergy is a strong possibility for your dog’s skin condition. Even after an outbreak of fleas has been eradicated, evidence of flea bite allergy will pop up if just a few fleas remain. In fact, most dogs with flea allergy have very few fleas on their body because they groom more.

Recurrent tapeworm

Dogs that ingest fleas from biting and chewing their irritated skin will be more prone to getting tapeworm. Fleas are common hosts of tapeworm larvae, and when a dog ingests the parasites, the tapeworm eggs are released and spread to the dog’s small intestine. This is an unfortunate side effect of some flea infestations, though ingesting fleas does not indicate that a dog is definitely allergic to flea bites. Since dogs with flea allergies groom more, however, they are more likely to ingest fleas and tapeworm larvae.

Because Flea Allergy Dermatitis causes a cycle of scratching and itching, your dog cannot heal alone. Once you recognize the symptoms, it's important to pursue treatment to keep your dog from the discomfort of Flea Allergy Dermatitis.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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