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Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Rosanna Marsalla

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Treatment In-depth

Treatment for skin infections may include antibiotics, steroids, or antihistamines.

  • A newer therapy called Oclacitinib (Apoquel) has been very effective in control of itching in dogs with flea allergies. This drug uniquely targets cytokines that are involved in the itch process. Onset of relief can be as early as 4 hours and controls the itch within 24 hours. Many veterinarians like this drug because it controls itching without the side effects of steroids.

    The type of treatment for fleas on your dog will depend on several factors:

  • The severity of the infestation

  • Whether you have only a dog or dogs, or both cats and dogs

  • Whether your pets spend all of their time indoors or some time indoors and some time outdoors

  • The time of the year the problem occurs

  • Area of exposure to fleas as the pet's yard or public park

  • Whether or not the animal is allergic to fleas

    Recommendations May Include

  • Many products that are available for the treatment of flea infestation. All products have advantages, disadvantages and may or may not be safe to use with other products.

  • Some "over-the-counter" products available without a prescription, such as flea powders, sprays and collars that contain pyrethrin, which is moderately effective. The most potent flea control products are prescription products available through your veterinarian.

    Prescription flea control products are most potent and include:

  • Capstar® (nitenpyram), an oral product that results in flea death within four hours after administration

  • Program® (lufenuron), a product that can be administered orally or by injection, and that inhibits the development of the flea

  • Frontline® (fipronil), Frontline Plus® and Advantage® (imidacloprid), topical products placed directly on the skin that prevent and kill fleas

  • Revolution® (selamectin), a topical product that prevents fleas, heartworms and some intestinal parasites

    If your pet already has fleas, they must be killed first with products such as Capstar® (nitenpyram), Frontline Plus® (fipronil) or Advantage® (imidacloprid).

    Recommendations for flea control will vary depending upon local and regional variations in climate. New flea control products are constantly being developed. Consult your veterinarian about the newest and most effective product for your particular area and circumstances.

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