Flea eczema is an allergic reaction - a non-infectious inflammation of the skin as the result of flea bites, which can be complicated by a secondary bacterial infection.
After a flea infestation, solitary crusts form and/or a reddening of the skin occurs. Furthermore, the behavior of affected dogs is characterized by an intense itching sensation, and as a result, they try to remove the biting fleas. Itching and biting of the skin may lead to a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. In severe cases, their coat may fall out and the skin may start to exude matter. Common sites of affection are the lower back, the croup, and the base of the tail. In very sensitive dogs, a single fleabite can trigger eczema.
Every time a flea bites the skin of it’s host, its saliva is injected into the skin. At this point, the flea’s saliva may be recognized by the immune system as an allergen, which can lead to a severe reaction of the affected skin cells. If this immune reaction occurs, the according symptoms develop. If you have treated your dog for fleas, flea eczema is unlikely, but not impossible.
The most important part of the treatment is the eradication of fleas infesting the animal’s body. Healing of the insulted skin may require prolonged medical treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics.
If you have noticed any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should consult your vet within the next days and arrange for an appointment. The patient should be immediately separated from other animals, especially inside the household. Please inform your vet in advance about your visit so that ample preparations can be made to prevent infection of other animals. Any additional pets in your household, dogs, cats, etc. should also be treated, even if they show no symptoms.