1. Condition Diagnosis
[pets_name] has been diagnosed with Flea allergy dermatitis, Atopic dermatitis
2. Understanding skin disease
The path to a diagnosis
When cats itch there are a long list of reasons why that can happen. The most common causes are parasites (fleas and mites), skin infections, and allergies. Pets can be allergic to either flea bites, certain foods, environmental allergens, or a combination of all three. Since the skin only has so many different ways it can react, most of the time these diseases can look similar and only after a process of elimination can we get to an ultimate diagnosis of what is truly causing your pet to itch.
This is why we are so excited you are here.
The Dutch Relief Plan is designed to not only provide immediate relief where needed, we will also begin the journey to get to the root cause of your pet’s problem with the goal of providing lasting relief.
The journey begins with treating any underlying skin infection, if present, and controlling the incessant urge to itch. We then determine if the cause of itch is due to an underlying allergy by process of elimination. We must rule out a flea allergy, followed by a food allergy, and if the itch is not resolving we are left with the diagnosis of an environmental allergy. This process can take several months to complete and it is important that during this time we keep your pet happy and itch free while we do the work needed to create lasting change. For more information to better understand allergies and your pet, read below. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.
Flea allergy dermatitis (flea allergy)
Flea allergy dermatitis is an itchy skin disease caused by a hypersensitivity to flea bites. Often the animals with the worst flea allergies develop symptoms from infrequent or intermittent flea bites. Because flea allergic animals spend so much time itching, chewing and grooming, they often remove fleas before you get the opportunity to see them. Once a flea has bitten an allergic pet, the itch that follows lasts 14 days!
The diagnosis of flea allergy is made by observing where the pet itches and rashes, not by the presence or absence of fleas. Flea allergy dermatitis affects both dogs and cats. When the flea bites your pet, a small amount of saliva is injected into the skin. Cats develop an allergy to components in the flea’s saliva. Cats may have hair loss due to excessive licking (usually over the back and abdomen), tiny scabs over the back and neck, ulcers on their lips, or red oozing sores on their stomach and legs.
The most important aspect of treatment is the prevention of flea bites. This involves administering a medication that kills adult fleas as quickly as possible. Flea treatment is recommended year-round for the allergic pet as it takes so few bites to set up significant and prolonged itching. Additionally fleas are very well adapted to living indoors with humans, completing the entire flea life cycle in the home, even in locations of extreme heat and cold.
When flea prevention is administered, the adult fleas on the pet are killed very quickly, but these adult fleas only make up approximately 5% of the total flea population. Typically once flea prevention is started, it takes a few consistent treatments to reduce the immature life stages of fleas in the household. This is because only adult fleas live on our pets, while fleas in the other life stages (eggs, larvae and pupae) live in the environment, often at the base of carpet, on pet beds, and even in the grooves of hardwood floors. These immature states need to complete their life cycle to become adults to be affected by flea prevention. New infestations are prevented by the speed of kill of the flea prevention since the adult fleas are killed before they are able to start laying eggs in the home.
All pets in the household with a flea allergic pet should also be maintained on consistent flea prevention to keep this environmental flea population controlled. By keeping your cat on consistent year round flea prevention, new adult fleas picked up from outside or from other pets in the home will not be able to reproduce and proliferate at home.
Feline atopic dermatitis (environmental allergy)
Environmental allergies (also known as Atopy or feline atopy syndrome) are the one of the most common causes of chronic itching in cats. This is the result of your cat having a genetic predisposition to developing allergic reactions (hypersensitivities) to environmental substances (allergens) like pollens and dust that do not create a problem in non-allergic individuals. Many of these are the same allergens that result in human allergy symptoms like hay fever and asthma. These include dust mites, pollens, molds, insect particles, and animal dander.
Unlike many people who “grow out” of their allergies, for most of our pets the disease is life-long. Most cats will start showing symptoms between 6 months and 7 years of age. In most people, allergies cause inflammation in the nose, eyes, and lungs, leading to sneezing and runny noses, runny eyes, and coughing. However, in cats, allergies cause inflammation on the skin, leading to itching. Cat “scratching” includes scratching, biting, licking, chewing, rubbing, rolling, and shaking the head. It is also important to note that some feline friends are very secretive and will lick, chew and scratch in private.
Several distinct patterns are seen with cats with allergies. Some develop patches of hair loss from excessive grooming, which can be very symmetrical with complete hair loss along the abdomen or the legs. Some cats present with numerous small crusty bumps hidden in the hair which can be felt when the pet is touched. Other cats will develop marked itching and scratching to the head and neck or areas of red swollen skin and sores. Several of these patterns can be detected in the same pet and all be triggered by bad allergies.
Many of these animals start with seasonal symptoms when young but will eventually progress to year-round symptoms. Environmental allergies are diagnosed based on history and clinical examination findings as well as ruling out other itchy conditions. Those other itchy conditions include parasitic diseases like scabies-like mites, flea allergy and food allergy. While we start treatment for environmental allergies, skin infections (if present), other sources of itch (including flea bites), and discomfort will be addressed with appropriate therapies.
3.Medical Treatment Plan