The Flohallergie is probably the most frequent allergic skin disease of the cat. The saliva of the flea, which reaches the cat’s skin during its blood meal, has an allergenic effect (allergen). Typically, cats with flea allergy are affected by only a few fleas! Often it is also the case that during the exact investigation no fleas or no fleas are found on the cat. Why flohallergic cats are infected by a smaller number of fleas than are not allergic, is not known. One possible explanation is the pronounced cleaning behavior of allergic cats. It is said that with an allergic cat, a flea stain is enough to make it massively itchy for 14 days.
The clinical appearance is not uniform. A part of the cats shows a so-called “miliare dermatitis”, whereby a lot of small (miliare) crusts are usually distributed over the back and neck or other body sites. These crusts are sometimes not easy to find in dense cat fur. Other cats show an increased cleaning behavior, especially in the back area of the back, until the hair becomes very sparse and the skin shines through the fur. Here, too, one sometimes finds these miliary crusts. There are also cats, which scratch whole body areas bloody, usually at the head or the neck area – in bad cases the whole body can be affected by these scratch marks. From time to time one can also observe that the back of his back suddenly twitches several times before they lick at this point, or abruptly run into another corner of the home. This may be an additional indication for flea infestation. It is also possible to develop a skin lesion that belongs to the group of the eosinophilic granuloma complex. This disease is described in more detail below.
Therapy is a strict flea treatment of ALL cats and dogs who live in the same household or have close contact with the allergy affected cat. The more animals living together, the more rigorous should be done. In order to prevent relapse, it is advisable to have a good, all-year-old flea prophylaxis (therapy and prophylaxis, see KM 2/99). The prognosis of flohallergy has become relatively good with today’s good flea drugs, provided they are used regularly.