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Dr. G.
Dr. G., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1919
Experience:  Private Practice Veterinarian
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Can fleas give a dog a red, splotchy rash one her stomach and

Customer Question

Can fleas give a dog a red, splotchy rash one her stomach and private area? I just noticed she seems like she is covered in fleas and now has this rash. It is really nerve racking and it seem like it happened over-night, which I know can't be possible. As far as flea treatment goes, she took a pill that the vet recommended about a month ago, and I just realized I am four days late giving her another pill. In addition to the pill I gave her, I treated her with store bought drops thinking that would rid her of any adult fleas (the vet said the pills had no affect on any adult fleas that might be on her.) When I took her to the vet about a month ago, I didn't think she had a "flea issue." I was only trying to take preventive measures. My dog is a female german shepherd who is aprox. 4 months old. Also, this is the first dog I have ever owned so everything puppy rearing related is really new to me.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a licensed veterinarian and I will try and help you as best as I can. I am sorry to hear your dog is having this problem. Fleas can be quite difficult to get rid of and can indeed cause the signs you are seeing. Fleas can lead to severe skin inflammation and infection, typically referred to as flea allergy dermatitis. This is related to a hypersensitivity to the flea's saliva. What medication did your vet give you for her and what medication did you buy over the counter? Any other pets in the home?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The answer to your first question is: (A) Sentinel and (B) Hartz Ultra Guard Topical Flea and Tick Prevention for dogs weighing 31-60 ibs. (My dog is about 40ibs). As for your second question, I have no other pets. However, we (my dog and I) visit my parents' home about once every other week, and they have three yorkies--all of which are regularly treated for fleas. My parents' take immaculate care of their home and the health of their pets is of the utmost importance to them. We visited them yesterday, which is the only reason I mention it. Also, after I posted my question, I found a dose of Sentinal that the vet gave me with my dog's records. I just gave that to her. I bathed her earlier today and gave her a 25mg diphenhydramine hoping it might ease some of her discomfort until I can get her to a vet tomorrow. In addition to fully answering my first question, I would appreciate any suggestions regarding what I can do to make her more comfortable; I feel awful.
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 2 years ago.
The first thing you can do is give more benadryl. She could have 50 mg every 8 hours to help with the itchy skin. As far as parasite prevention, i typically recommend a combination of sentinel and parastar plus to treat internal and external parasites. This tends to work very well. If your dog has fleas, it will take about 4-6 months to get rid of all of them as they are great at laying microscopic eggs. You should vacuum daily and make sure to use prevention every month. The best way to get rid of them is simply by using prevention every month which will kill any that hatch. The bath should help as well. She might also have a skin infection not related to anything else, often referred to as puppy pyoderma. In that case, she will need a course of antibiotics, but should recover fully. Sometimes this can also be related to diet, so if things do not resolve with treatment, she may need to be switched to another diet. Typically in that case I will recommend switching to a diet with a different main protein.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Assuming the rash is from a flea allergy, if I start treating her with parastar plus tomorrow, should I expect the rash to be present for the next 4-6 months? Do I need to treat the allergy separately from and in addition to giving her the additional meds and making sure my home gets extra vacuuming/moping/cleaning?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also, do you think she may have came in counter with a very flea invested environment or that it is more likely that the fleas have been slowly becoming an issue that I just failed to notice until there were many of them?
Expert:  Dr. G. replied 2 years ago.
It is hard to say regarding the rash and the timeframe. It could be there for a week or two typically with flea treatment and antihistamines. If it is there longer, or if she is uncomfortable, she will need a course of steroids +/- antibiotics. Cleaning regularly: vacuum daily, wash bedding weekly, will help with the environment. As far as the fleas themselves: they are everywhere outside, especially this time of the year. They may have been in small numbers on her for a while and could have been hard to see. it is often easy to overlook fleas if you are not really looking for them.