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Friday, April 18, 2014
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Symptoms of Fleas on a Dog & Hair Loss

By Megan Allyce Snider
 
Fleas can be a problem for both you and your dog. A few fleas or thousands of them can infest your dog’s coat. Constant scratching, itchy red skin and even bleeding can plague your dog if he has fleas. This can lead to fur loss and other serious conditions such as anemia and bald spots. A trip to the vet and some medication can clear this problem up quickly, giving your dog much-needed comfort.

Warning Signs

Look for signs that indicate your dog may have fleas. Excessive biting and scratching of the fur and skin are the primary ones. Scratching predominantly around the head, neck and tails is common because fleas usually congregate in these areas. Fleas may be visible on your dog if you gently part his fur and examine the skin. Flea waste may also be present on your dog’s skin and bedding area.

Symptoms

Because of the excessive scratching and flea bites, your dog’s skin may become red and inflamed. Some dogs display a hyper reaction to flea bites because they are allergic to flea saliva. In this instance, biting and scratching becomes compulsive. Anemia may also occur if a large infestation is at work on your dog. Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood drops. In some cases, both hemoglobin and red blood cells drop. Signs of anemia are weakness, pale gums, increased respiratory rate, episodes of collapsing, blood in urine or waste, external blood loss, decrease in appetite, yellowing of the skin, a bloated or distended stomach, vomiting and weight loss

Hair Loss

Compulsive biting and scratching in dogs that are allergic to flea saliva will cause bald, red spots in your animal’s fur. Dog hair loss in reaction to fleas will begin at the base of the tail and end at the shoulders. It is usually triangular in shape. Dogs with this condition will have red, itchy and pimple-like bumps over the base of their tails, the back of their rear legs and inner thighs. A prescription flea medication or a corticosteroid usually stops this condition temporarily. However, understand that your dog may continue scratching certain areas of infestation during and after medication use until the allergy is under control. You must keep your dog on an anti-flea medication schedule, because even a bite from one flea can cause another outbreak which may last five to seven days. Have your veterinarian pick the medication combination and the plan the schedule because certain medications can have adverse effects when combined.
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