Allergic dermatitis is an allergic skin condition in dogs, occurring as a result of oversensitivity to flea bites. Oversensitivity means that it takes only one flea bite to cause instant itching, redness and local swelling of the skin. The disease affects 1-10% percent of pets (less than atopic dermatitis). It often happens that the symptoms of allergic dermatitis conceal other diseases, especially because the symptoms caused by other skin conditions are very similar. Allergic dermatitis caused by a flea bite most often affects animals between 3 and 5 years of age. However, it can occur with animals of any other age, too.
Skin changes, such as rash, hairless spots, bumps, redness, crusts or moist skin are most often found at the root of the tail, where we also find the changes commonly known as “hot spots“. Those are bigger, painful, round, moist parts occurring as a result of local allergic dermatitis. These changes can spread all over the body. The itching is sometimes so intense, that the dog can’t sleep at all, so it just scratches all night, not to mention that scratching only worsens the skin changes. This form of dermatitis is often accompanied by a severe bacterial inflammation and seborrhea.
On the sole basis of a medical check-up and the described symptoms, the vet will assume that the problem is allergic dermatitis. The presence of fleas or traces of their excrement is a clear indication of this disease. This is the most widespread skin condition in dogs, which often requires a long and expensive treatment. The treatment first of all includes getting rid of fleas in all developmental stages, as well as a thorough disinsection of the living area of the affected dog.
The basis for all types of prevention is preventing flea bites. Given that we know that the biggest amount of fleas is in our immediate environment, it’s necessary to eliminate them. Their elimination requires special products. Regular carpet vacuuming is also important for achieving better results. The dog should be protected before infection and serious problems occur.