Why am I Always Told My Pets Itchy Skin is Always Caused By Fleas?

Posted on November 19th, 2014

Have you noticed, when you take your dog or cat to the veterinarian because of itchy skin, you are almost always told it is because your pet has fleas? Often, you are sold flea shampoos, monthly flea chemicals, and told to go home and fumigate your house and yard. Even though you cannot find evidence of any fleas, you still go home and do this. Unfortunately, the skin irritation may still continue, because your pet never had a flea allergy dermatitis in the first place!

What is a flea allergy dermatitis (FAD)?

According to Wikipedia, a flea allergy dermatitis begins as a very itchy, red, raised area of skin, occurring in pets and their owners, due to the bite of the flea. It is thought the clinical effects that the flea bite causes its victim, comes from an allergic reaction, due to the chemicals present in the flea saliva.

Almost any inflammation of the skin occurring on your pet will be diagnosed as a flea allergy dermatitis, which is often not the case.

If you have multiple pets in your household, have you noticed that possibly only one pet is bothered by fleas? This is because that pet has either a nutritional or a hormonal imbalance, and the fleas are attracted to that pet, to actually cause that pet to succumb!

Nutritional deficiencies can obviously come from being fed improper nutrients, however, when all the pets are being fed the same, and only one pet has the nutritional deficiency, what is the cause?

The cause can come from an enzyme deficiency from the pancreas. This condition is referred to as a trypsin deficiency. When this enzymes is deficient, protein, carbohydrates and fats, will not be broken down effectively for absorption by the gut, and a nutrition imbalance will result.

Often blood tests done for trypsin levels, do not correspond with the amount of enzymes that is present, in the actual gut.

Pets that have this condition, often have a need to ingest inanimate objections, in order, to fulfill their nutritional needs. This is found much more frequently in dogs than in cats. Often these pets will lick the ground and their owner incessantly, eat paper, grass, rocks and plastic and in extreme cases, will eat their own stool or the stool of another pet that has a trypsin deficiency. The reason for ingesting stool in the first place, is due to the presence of undigested food that remains in the stool.

Another sign of a trypsin deficiency, is the inability of a puppy to absorb calcium properly, which in turn, creates lengthened tendons and ligaments. This is easily viewed by the pet owner, by looking at the wrists of your pet and identifying curved or bent wrists.

Your veterinarian can help you identify this condition, if you are not sure.

Also the rear paws may point slightly lateral in their position. This condition is called “cow hocked”.

A trypsin deficiency can be corrected by adding plant based digestive enzymes to each meal the pet eats. Once proper nutritional absorption occurs, the flea infestation to that one pet, should dissipate.

Another condition that will cause a pet to have a flea infestation, can be caused by a hormonal imbalance. This is something you can read about on this website.

Please know that inflamed skin on the back and near the tail, can also occur from an inhalant allergy, and not just from a flea allergy dermatitis.

If your pet bites its feet, has inflamed ears, and the skin of the abdomen is also inflamed, this is most likely due to a food allergy and not fleas!

These particular allergy sites, contain mast cells which, when adversely stimulated by a food allergy, release their histamines and cause inflammation at those sites. NOTE: Please be careful of foods that contain plant based estrogens called phytoestrogens which will cause further inflammation. Read this article, Natural Estrogens That Occur In Nutrients.

Please be especially careful, to avoid foods that include, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, flaxseed and soy products, because these foods contain large amounts of phytoestrogens. Often string cheese is a great substitution for pet snacks, which do contain various chemicals even though they may not be listed on the package. If you question feeding that snack to you child, why would you feed it to your pet?

It is important to manage a flea infestation, but NOT with monthly chemical insect repellents. Given enough time, these flea, tick and heartworm chemicals will all cause catastrophic diseases and hopefully one day, they will be taken off the market!

In all fairness to the veterinary profession, they have never been told about the detrimental effects these monthly insect repellents will cause with prolonged use!

What then, should you use, to control fleas?

Over the past 50 years of clinical, veterinary practice, I have found the use of Head and Shoulders with Conditioner to work very effectively, and because of the conditioner, you can wash your pet several times without being concerned about drying out their skin.

There are also natural, weekly sprays that can be used, containing cedar oils etc. that are also quite effective.

To determine if you actually have a flea build up in your home or garden, you should have bites on your feet and ankles. Bites on your face and neck, do not count, if you are sleeping with your pet.

Spraying your yard and treating you home every 10 days for three periods with non-toxic products, may be crucial, in order to get rid of a flea infestation.

Hopefully, this article will make sense and give you a better understanding on how to identify a real, flea allergy dermatitis.


Dr. AL Plechner