What are Flea Control and Flea Bite Allergies?
A flea bite allergy is also known as flea bite hypersensitivity or dermatitis. The allergy is not known to be fatal to cats, but it can cause itching, swelling and hair loss. The constant scratching and biting can lead to sores, bleeding, and infection.
A flea bite allergy is a very common issue for cats. Saliva from the flea causes your cat to suffer from itching and discomfort. The issue ranges from a flea bite in one area to several bites throughout the body. Multiple flea bites can be agonizing for your four-legged friend, and this problem will continue until every flea has been eliminated from the household.
Symptoms of Flea Control and Flea Bite Allergies in Cats
If your cat is suffering from a flea bite allergy, they may display the following symptoms:
- Excessive scratching
- Swollen skin
- Hair thinning or loss
- Crusts and scabs on skin
- Discharge from sores
- Foul odor due to infection
You can also look for fleas by inspecting the fur and skin carefully. The presence of fleas usually indicates the presence of flea dirt as well.
Causes of Flea Control and Flea Bite Allergies in Cats
The flea bite allergy is caused from the saliva rather than the bite itself. Fleas inject proteins such as enzymes and amino acids into the skin when they are feeding on their host. Cats are very allergic to these proteins and have a tendency to scratch and bite at the area. The flea bite allergy is more common in warmer temperatures, but an infestation of fleas can affect your pet all year round.
Diagnosis of Flea Control and Flea Bite Allergies in Cats
The first step to diagnosing your cat is to look through their fur with a flea comb. It is also recommended to visit your veterinarian to rule out other allergies. Your veterinarian will ask about the symptoms, visibility of fleas and how long they have been exposed to the allergen. Expect your veterinarian to give your cat a physical exam to check their overall health.
If you do not find any visible fleas on your cat, your veterinarian may perform an allergy or skin test to confirm or rule out the flea bite allergy. A blood test can also confirm an allergy to the flea bites. There is a chance your cat may also need a skin patch test to see which allergy is the culprit.
Your veterinarian will check your cat for secondary conditions such as a skin infection or tapeworm.
Treatment of Flea Control and Flea Bite Allergies in Cats
The best way to control a flea bite allergy is to eliminate fleas altogether. Your veterinarian may prescribe or recommend specific products to help treat your cat and your environment.
Your veterinarian may prescribe topical medication or suggest an over-the-counter medication to use as a spot-on treatment. The medication ranges from a weekly spray to monthly drops. A medicated flea shampoo is another option for your cat. It is important to discuss the options with your veterinarian, and be sure to use the treatment as directed on the package.
Other Types of Medication
There is always a chance your cat will need treatment besides the medicated sprays, drops, and shampoo. Your veterinarian may recommend an oral medication or antihistamine, or they may decide a steroid injection is the best option for your cat. The medication is designed to reduce itching and swelling.
Treating Secondary Condition
Your cat could wind up with a secondary condition from just a few fleas. The scratching and biting could lead to open wounds, and this could cause a bacterial skin infection. Your cat could also suffer from tapeworm if they swallow any fleas while grooming. Your veterinarian will check for a secondary condition and treat the condition as necessary.
Treating Your Environment
The best way to control the flea problem is to eliminate them from your environment. You can ask your veterinarian to recommend a spray or powder that is safe for your household. You also need to wash their bedding and vacuum throughout the house. Clean any places your cat likes to sleep, such as your bedding or the couch. It is important to follow the directions and repeat this method within a week to prevent a re-infestation of fleas.
Recovery of Flea Control and Flea Bite Allergies in Cats
A follow-up appointment is necessary to making sure the bites and sores have healed. You should definitely schedule an appointment if your cat has suffered from a secondary condition due to the fleas. Your veterinarian will give you further instructions on treating your cat and household. You may need to continue the medicated treatment for several more weeks.
Eliminating the fleas and preventing a re-infestation usually results in a full recovery for your four-legged friend.