Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is an allergic reaction to flea saliva and results in intense itching, hair loss, and secondary infections. Infected cats may have scabs near the head or neck and they may chew the hair off their legs. FAD is diagnosed based on the characteristic pattern of inflammation. Your vet will look for fleas and flea dirt that appears as black specks on your vet’s skin. However, even if fleas or flea dirt is not found, it does not rule out the FAD. All pets affected with FAD must be on topical therapy to prevent flea bites. Oral flea preventives are available which are helpful in breaking the flea cycle. However, they can not be used as sole therapy as they must first bite the pet to ingest the preventive. The home must be treated by a professional exterminator and special attention should be given to bedding and furniture. There are preventive flea control products available that have made it easier to prevent fleas as prevention is the best cure for fleas.