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Fleas and Your Pet

Dr. Rochelle Campbell

Have you noticed your pets have been scratching and biting at themselves more than usual? Or, maybe you have noticed scabs, redness or hair loss on your pet's skin/haircoat.  If so, your pet may be suffering from flea allergy dermatitis. 

Fleas are a continuous problem for us here in Florida because our generally warm climate allows them to thrive, like most other parasites.  The first step to ensuring that you and your pet will not suffer the consequences of a flea infestation is to provide a monthly flea preventative to your pet.  You can chosse from a variety of oral or topical products.  Some names of these products include Comfortis, Frontline, Vectra and Advantage.  There are also some products available, such as Trifexis, Sentinel and Revolution, that provide heartworm and internal parasite protection along with flea prevention.  You and your veterinarian can discuss the best choice for your dog or your cat. 

If you are having a flea problem, you need to treat not only your pets, but also your environment.  This includes both indoor and outdoor spaces.  There are products available that can help treat these areas.  If you have a pest control company, be sure to inquire if they include treatment for fleas as well.  It can sometimes take three months or longer to get rid of a severe flea infestation.

Although there are a number of causes that could be responsible for your pet's skin issues, a flea allergy is one of the more common.  Pets afflicted with flea allergy dermatitis are very uncomfortable and need to typically treated with anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics to help relieve discomfort and treat the secondeary infection that results from chronic biting and scratching that is self-inflicted by your pet.  This is why the best way to treat a flea problem is to take preventative measures to avoid it altogether.  Have a great (and flea-free) year!