Many dog owners assume that if their dog has fleas as long as they have the fleas treated and get rid of them that will be the end of the problem. This is not necessarily true. Fleas can cause a number of conditions in dogs. These conditions may linger long after the actual flea infestation if you don't identify and treat them.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Many dogs are allergic to the saliva of fleas. Thus, when bitten, the dog develops itchy skin and begin scratching and biting at themselves. Some dogs develop "hot spots" where the fur and skin begins to wear away, and others develop patchy hair loss as a result of the itching. While some cases simply go away once the fleas are treated, other dogs suffer ongoing issues after the fleas are gone because they keep on itching and scratching.

Treating any sores with an antiseptic cream and administering antihistamines to stop the itching should help stop flea allergy dermatitis in its tracks. If the sores become infected, your vet may prescribe antibiotics.


Though more often transmitted by ticks, this infectious disease can be transmitted by fleas, too. It suppresses the red blood cells, which causes dogs with the condition to show depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fever. Some dogs do die from the illness, but typically if you notice the signs and take your dog to a vet, like Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital, for treatment, recovery is likely. The disease is treated with antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline. Dogs may not show symptoms immediately after being infected, so make sure you stay on the lookout for haemobartonellosis  even after you've gotten rid of the fleas.


Fleas often carry tapeworm larvae in their intestines, so if your dog ingests a flea, he or she may get tapeworm. The signs of a tapeworm infection are subtle. Most dog's don't appear overly sick or skinny when they have tapeworm. The main symptom that owners notice is the shedding of small white worm segments from the dog's rear end. These resemble grains of rice and they wiggle around.

Tapeworm infections are easy to treat with an oral or injected dose of dewormer from your vet. Do make sure you treat your dog if tapeworm is suspected, since some tapeworms found in dogs can cause illness in humans.

When your dog is infested with fleas, by all means, do all that you can to get rid of the fleas. But then, don't assume everything is okay. Keep your eyes open for signs of the conditions above.