October 04, 2018

Recognizing a Patient's Flea Allergy

A thorough patient history is vital to diagnosing a flea allergy, says Stephen D. White, DVM, DACVD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

A thorough patient history is vital to diagnosing a flea allergy, says Stephen D. White, DVM, DACVD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

“First, do we think we have a flea allergy? Because flea allergy still is something that's worldwide, and despite the availability of really good flea control, many owners don't understand how best to do that. So, some people say 'Well I only use flea control when I see fleas', but the adult flea is only 5% of the flea biomass in the in the environment. Or they say 'I do use topical flea control spot-ons, but I wash the dog twice a week,' which probably means they're washing off.

So, a lot of it is exploring with the owner, and explaining to the owner, how flea control and how fleas work, that it may take anywhere from 1 up to 2 months to get rid of enough fleas so that you're not seeing them in the environment. Diets, lots of times owners come in and say I've already, well for example, they'll come in and say 'I've already tried antibiotics, already tried steroids, already tried antihistamines, already tried flea control, already tried a diet.' And what does that tell the veterinarian? Actually it tells them nothing. Because you don't know what the dose is, how long they did, what diet did they use, did they do an over-the-counter diet that, you know, their friend said seemed to work for their dog, or did they really do a strict hypoallergenic diet? So, history becomes all-important so that you don't repeat anything that was done well, but you also don't let things slide that might be the answer.”
 

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