Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Cats

Flea allergies in cats can cause serious skin conditions.

Fleas are common parasites that bite and feed on cats. They then drop off the cat and lay eggs in the environment, which hatch into more fleas that jump onto and feed off of nearby cats and other mammals.

Problems in Cats Caused by Fleas

Many cats that are affected by fleas aren't bothered too much by them. However, there are some serious conditions that can be caused by a flea infestation on a cat. These include:

What Is Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Cats?

Flea allergy dermatitis in cats occurs when the kitty's immune system overreacts to flea saliva, mounting an over-the-top response to its presence in the cat's body. The histamine that is released during this response causes intensely itchy, fluid-filled bumps to appear on the cat's skin.

When they cat begins to scratch at these bumps, skin damage and subsequent infection can occur rapidly, which leads to even more skin discomfort, then more itching, and the process quickly becomes a vicious cycle.

Signs of Feline Flea Allergy Dermatitis

If your cat has some or all of the signs listed below, flea allergy dermatitis may be the culprit. These signs can all be caused by other allergies and skin conditions, so a veterinary exam and possibly some skin testing may be required for proper diagnosis.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis Diagnosis in Cats

Diagnosis of flea allergy dermatitis in cats is generally achieved through analyzing the cat's history of clinical signs, finding fleas on the pet, and noting a serious skin condition in association with them.

Skin testing for allergies may also be necessary to ensure there is not another cause for the cat's reaction.

Treatment of Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Cats

Treatment of flea allergy dermatitis hinges on ridding the cat's environment of fleas and preventing their reintroduction. You can learn more here, "Flea Control for Cats," but your veterinarian is best suited to help you develop an individualized flea control plan for your pets and home.

In the meantime, several treatments may be necessary to stop your cat's current allergic reaction and treat any subsequent skin inflammation and infection. These treatments may include:

Never give your cat any medication without talking to your veterinarian first. Many over-the-counter, human, and pet medications are toxic to cats.

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