By Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
Allergies are one of the leading causes of visits to the veterinary office: They account for up to 25 percent of visits, according to some estimates. Allergic disease in dogs has three primary causes: fleas, food and the environment.
Any fleabite will itch, as you probably know if you have had to deal with them yourself. But many dogs have a true allergic reaction to flea saliva, which causes them to experience levels of itchiness disproportionate to the amount of fleas on their body. These dogs can be miserable with only one or two fleas on their body. This fools many people who assume that unless a dog is visibly infested, fleas couldn’t be the issue.
Topical flea treatments — such as Advantage, FRONTLINE and Vectra — have been the main form of treatment for the past decade, but oral flea preventives — such as Comfortis — have been an additional help for pets who cannot tolerate the spot-on treatments.