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Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is characterised by a mild to severe irritation of the skin – usually at, around or in front of the tail and spreading up the back and down the flanks. With rubbing, biting and scratching, the hair is quickly lost, the skin often becomes wrinkled, thick and scaly. Secondary infection, with associated strong odour, is common.


It is caused by flea saliva that is injected into the skin when fleas bite. ONE FLEABITE is all that is required to set a sensitive animal scratching. Often not a single flea will be seen on your pet. Remember fleas only spend ONE TENTH of their time on the animal feeding!

Treatment: Usually steroids and antibiotics are required. Your veterinarian will discuss type and dosage with you to suit your pet's individual requirements.

Regular use of modern, easily applied flea products purchased from your veterinarian are the key to prevention.

Important points to remember:

• EVERY pet in the household must be treated, even if you don’t see fleas on one of your pets, it will intermittently harbour fleas and act as a reservoir of fleas in your house.
• Flea shampoos and rinses do not persist on your pet and are therefore not very effective in controlling them.
• Flea collars and powders are not effective in fully controlling fleas either. We do not recommend these products.
• In the Auckland area, flea control must be maintained throughout the entire year, even during cooler winter months. (Did you know that it takes 3-4 days at –10C to kill the cycle), as the way we heat our houses nowadays is beneficial to the fleas as well.

New products are now available that are both effective and easy to administer. These products include Advantage and Revolution  and are applied to the skin on the back of your pet's neck. They dispense throughout the skin layers, persisting for extended periods, killing fleas on contact before they get a chance to bite and trigger allergy.

Please discuss with our friendly staff which product will be best suited for your pets. These products are NOT toxic to you or your family.

© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd