If you suspect your dog may be allergic to flea bites, your veterinarian will likely run a few tests to make sure that flea saliva is the cause of the skin condition. Your vet may want to rule out other allergens that produce similar allergic reactions to FAD, such as food, inhalants, other parasites, and drugs reactions. This can be done via a blood test, or a more invasive series of injections. Your vet will also examine and measure any lesions found, and perform a physical examination.
Once flea allergy dermatitis has been confirmed, treatment can begin in three parts.
1. Removal of fleas
It is highly important to eliminate all fleas from your dog’s hair to prevent future bites. Even one or two lingering fleas can prolong symptoms. Flea removal products come in the form of combs, shampoos, topical treatments, and oral products, and are widely available. Eradicating the source of fleas as well, whether it is in your home or yard, is crucial to preventing future infestation. Make sure to treat carpeting, toys, bedding, and outdoor areas that house fleas and eggs.
2. Treatment of your pet’s skin condition
Steroids or antihistamines may be prescribed to combat your dog’s reaction to the flea bites and to curb itching. Your vet will also recommend treatment for any sores or lesions on your pet’s skin. And if a bacterial infection has occurred, antibiotics may be needed.
3. Continuous prevention of reinfestation
Keeping your dog away from fleas is crucial to ensuring their comfort and safety. Vigilant flea control and quick action if fleas come back is recommended. Flea treatment products such as flea collars, shampoos, oral products, and topical treatments can help keep your dog safe from fleas.
Some pet owners opt for desensitization therapy, a type of allergy shot that involves injecting small doses of the flea antigens over an extended period of time. Desensitization therapy does not cure the allergy, but it can help some dogs with severe allergies react less to the flea antigens.
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.