This is the most common presenting problem in patients I see at Olive Branch. Florida ranks number one in the country for Heartworm Disease, Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Atopic Dermatitis. Florida’s tropical climate is a haven for mosquitoes which cause Heartworm Disease, fleas which cause an Allergic Dermatitis and various grasses, pollen, trees and dust mites which cause Atopy. In addition to Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Atopy is Food Allergy Dermatitis which also causes skin disease either alone or in combination with the other two syndromes. So, basically 3 things cause skin disease I see daily in my practice:
Some pets are allergic to the saliva in the flea’s bite. If allergic, 1 bite can cause itching for up to 2 weeks in these pets. A study published a few years ago, when the topical flea preventions (Advantage, Frontline Top Spot) were initially being tested, showed up to an 80% reduction of allergic symptoms not only from fleas, but also from Atopy. Therefore, this is the first line of treatment for generalized skin disease…monthly flea prevention. Treating the home and enviroment help, but topical treatment on the pet is by far the most effective prevention. Some clients will say however their pet doesn’t have fleas. They may not see fleas on their pet, but a flea will bite their friend when they go outside, then jump off the pet. Fleas have been around for centuries and have a knack for survival. Remember, we are the number one state for fleas in this country. Companies who make flea prevention come to Florida to test their products.
In the next article, we will discuss Atopy which is the second most common cause of skin disease.