Research Shows a 67% Increase in Flea Dermatitis in Cats

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

By: Catherine West, MCC Practice Manager

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) or otherwise known as fleabite hypersensitivity is becoming more common in our pet populations here in the United States. In 2018, Banfield Hospitals noticed a 67% rise in cases of FAD within their pet populations. Cats with FAD may experience hair loss on their backs near their tail, have excessive grooming habits, raw spots or raised bumps are also common.

The most common sense reason for seeing this change is the prolonged warmer seasons making flea infestations common throughout the year and not just in our warmest months. There has also been a notable upsurge in the number of cases seen in indoor only animals. Fleas have no issue with making your home with a steady temperature environment their safe haven in which to thrive. Many pet owners with indoor only pets complain they never even saw a flea in their home. This is entirely possible. Cats are veracious groomers and it is plausible after being bitten by the flea, the cat grooms the area, eating the flea.

If your cat is experiencing hair loss, itching or skin bumps, the problem could be fleas
If your cat is experiencing hair loss, itching or skin bumps, the problem could be fleas

It has been obvious to those in clinical settings that year long flea treatment is the only way to avoid an infestation. Especially here in Alabama, as it was just 72 degrees after Christmas, yearlong flea treatment is the only way to avoid fleas on your animals and in your home.

Contact the clinic and ask about the types of flea treatment options we have available for your cats but essentially here are your options:

1. Applied monthly topical: The most effective we have seen are the prescription Advantage Multi, Revolution and Revolution Plus. These products not only treat fleas and ticks, but also a variety of parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and heartworms.

2. Applied every three months topically: Bravecto has been on the market for dogs and cats for a decent period of time. It has shown to be effective in treating fleas and ticks but does not treat other parasites.

3. Seresto Collars: These collars are fantastic for fleas and ticks. They also last 8 months. These collars are an excellent option for convenience sake, but they do not treat for other parasites.

Any time you use a product that is not labeled for treating heartworms, be sure to use a dewormer. We like Centragard and Profender. Centragard is more broad spectrum and pairs really well with the Seresto Collars and Bravecto.

Work Cited

Fender, K. R. (2018). Banfield: Flea allergy dermatitis up 67% in cats, 13% in dogs. DVM 360, 49(10), 8.

Pagan, C.N. (n.d.). When your pet has a flea allergy. Retrieved from

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