Fleas: Not just a FAD
Flea bite allergy, or flea allergic dermatitis (FAD), is the most common skin disease in pets.
This is Norma who has lost her fur from the shoulders down to her tail - all because of FAD.
Many cats are allergic to flea saliva so flea bites make them very itchy. This can develop further symptoms, such as inflamed skin, hair loss due to overgrooming, thickened or crusty skin, or small scabs.
Some of these conditions will need to be treated by a vet, but treatment will only be effective if the cat's environment is totally clear of fleas and their eggs. Just one flea can cause a problem in allergic cats.
You should not assume that a cat showing no signs of infection is parasite free. In many cases infections only become apparent when the number of parasites is too great for the cat to sustain. This is when it can quickly and easily lead to what we see in Norma.
Regular flea treatment with a product recommended by your vet will prevent FAD. Cats have no immunity to parasites so reinfection will occur if treatment is not regular.
Flea treatment is available in the form of a liquid which is dripped on to the back of the neck where the fur is parted, where the cat cannot reach to lick it off, and is applied monthly.
But also remember to treat the environment too. This can be in the form of a spray, which you can use on carpets and furnishings.
Remember, it is much harder to treat an infestation than it is to prevent one.