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What is Advantage Flea Medication Allergy?

Advantage flea treatment is made by the company Bayer, and its active ingredient is imidacloprid. Imidacloprid is an effective and typically safe-to-use insecticide that kills fleas. Although it is considered safe to use, this active ingredient can cause adverse reactions by cats. 

This monthly treatment should not be used on cats younger than 7 months of age and should only be used by carefully following the instructions. It is to be applied between the shoulder blades of the back and you should only use the specific dosage according to your cat’s weight. 

The ingredient, imidacloprid, affects the nervous system of the fleas and paralyzes them. The fleas eventually die within twelve hours. Within just five minutes of applying Advantage, the fleas stop biting and the larvae are killed. This waterproof treatment lasts for about one month, and then needs to be reapplied. 

Many cat owners use Advantage flea medication because it is considered safe and effective. Other benefits of this medication are it is inexpensive, easy to use, and readily available in many stores.

Advantage flea medication is commonly used to rid cats of fleas and is considered safe. However, some cats develop an allergy to the medication, and if this occurs, it is important to contact your veterinarian.

Symptoms of Advantage Flea Medication Allergy in Cats

If your cat licks any of the product or has an adverse reaction to the skin, he will exhibit the following symptoms. Symptoms of Advantage flea treatment allergy in cats include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritation of the skin
  • Shaking of the head
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itching
  • Biting at the skin

Types

There are many types of safe flea treatments available on the market today; however they can still cause a reaction if not used properly or if your cat is allergic. Other types of active ingredients in flea medications include:

  • Selamectin
  • Fipronil
  • Methoprene
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Causes of Advantage Flea Medication Allergy in Cats

Advantage flea treatment is known to be safe for cats; however, some cats may develop a reaction to the active ingredient. Causes of a reaction include:

  • The medication is absorbed through the skin
  • The medication can enter the cat’s bloodstream
  • The active ingredient can cause nerve damage
  • The cat may suffer from an accidental overdose
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Diagnosis of Advantage Flea Medication Allergy in Cats

If you suspect that your cat is having a reaction to his Advantage flea medication, contact your veterinarian. Take the container and packaging to the appointment with you so your veterinarian can be sure of what is giving your cat problems. Your veterinarian will ask you questions about the type of medication he is on to help fight his fleas. He will then take a closer look at his symptoms and gather information about them, such as when they began and the severity. 

The veterinarian may thoroughly wash and rinse your dog to remove any of the treatment and begin giving him fluids to help with hydration and to stabilize his symptoms. He will take blood work, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile. The blood testing will focus on your feline’s serum levels. Although blood testing and urine testing are not always absolute, your veterinarian will be able to rule out other illnesses by taking a close look at your cat’s symptoms and having the knowledge that he began having a reaction after the application of the product.

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Treatment of Advantage Flea Medication Allergy in Cats

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for imidacloprid toxicity. Your veterinarian will explain to you what you can do at home, and will treat his symptoms. Treatment methods may include:

Decontamination

Your veterinarian may have already washed and thoroughly rinsed your cat to help rid his skin and fur of the toxic ingredient.

Avoid Exposure

Your veterinarian will suggest to you that you avoid all further applications of the medication. He may also suggest holistic methods to help control and get rid of fleas.

Gastric Lavage

For severe cases of poisoning, such as if your cat has ingested the medication, your veterinarian may perform gastric lavage to help rid his stomach contents of the medication. This treatment method will be followed up with a dosage of activated charcoal and possibly a dosage of laxatives.

Fluids

Your veterinarian may want to keep your cat for a day or two and monitor his progress as he is on IV fluids. The fluids will help your cat remain hydrated and help further flush out any toxins.

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Recovery of Advantage Flea Medication Allergy in Cats

Most cats have an allergic reaction if they were given too much of the product or if they ingested a specific amount of the medication. Your veterinarian will communicate with you about your cat’s prognosis. Once you take your cat home, continue to monitor him for any other side effects or reactions. Be sure to give him plenty of fresh water during the day and night and monitor his drinking and urination habits. 

In order to avoid this from occurring again, you may want to consider holistic remedies to help control fleas. You can talk to your veterinarian about the types that are available to help your cat during peak flea seasons. If you have any questions about the main ingredients of products that can be used to help fight fleas, ask your veterinarian.

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Advantage Flea Medication Allergy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Siamese

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Third Eye Showing. Diarrhea Lethargy

Recent exposure to generic flea collar. My daughter's kitten wears a generic flea collar. The two cats play and wrestle together.

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. Though generic flea collars can be toxic for the wearer I do not think your cats symptoms are likely due to it. I think it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so he can be examined. I would bring a stool sample to check, and I would recommend bloodwork for him to assess the underlying cause of his symptoms. Your vet will then be able to provide an appropriate treatment plan based on exam and lab results. I hope he gets to feeling better soon!

July 31, 2020

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Luke and leia

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Cat

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11 Weeks

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lathargic

I have 11 week old kittens we used advantage shampoo. They seemed ok but about an hour later they seem really sleepy I don't know if they're just tuckered out or what. Please help

Sept. 8, 2018

Luke and leia's Owner

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TIGER

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Short haired calico

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Breathing.
Heavy Breathing. Hiding

I'm not sure if they are symptoms of an allergic reaction to flea meds or not. My cat is breathing heavier than normal. He did lick the area. This started after my dog chased my cat through the house and started to bite him. As of right now no other symptoms that I can see.

Aug. 31, 2018

TIGER's Owner

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Snow

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white shorthaired

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

I applied Advantage II for cats over 9lbs on my adult cat. This is the second time I use it on him, and he is very lethargic. The first time I used it on him he was mildly lethargic, but the symptoms went away the next day. This time its more than before and his pupils are dilated. I used a wet wash cloth to rub off the medication on him. What else can I do to make him better? :(

Aug. 21, 2018

Snow's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

You should use a mild dish soap (like Dawn) to remove any residue from the skin, however there is little else that can be done apart from ensuring that Snow remains hydrated and is otherwise comfortable; also please check that the product you used is for cats as I’ve seen a jump in people using the dog one which is toxic for cats. Keep an eye on Snow and visit your Veterinarian if any symptoms present like tremors or anything else concerning. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 21, 2018

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Leo

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moggy

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite
Sleepiness

Hi,I put advantage flea treatment on my 5 month old kitten and he was fine in the evening and the fine in morn ing ie eating and playing, I went to work and he's not himself he's been sick and is sleeping alot, his sister had flea treatment on aswell but I never saw him groom her, he's had this treatment before and he was fine, I'm probably overreacting but I'm scared he's ingested some from his sister

Aug. 16, 2018

Leo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Those topical flea treatments aren't toxic if ingested, and tend to taste bad to discourage that from happening. They can cause systemic reactions of lethargy and decreased appetite, however. If Leo continues to vomit, isn't eating, or is not feeling more like himself tomorrow, it would be a good idea to have him examined by a veterinarian to make sure that he is okay, as this may or may not be related to the Advantage application.

Aug. 16, 2018

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Tigger

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mixed

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13 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Lethargy
Vomiting
Skin Rash
Bumps
Open Sores
Fur Loss

I have a 13+yo tiger cat that has never had issues with fleas. But about 2 months ago, we moved into a house with other cats, so I felt it would be a good idea to use a topical mediation as a preventative measure. Almost immediately after putting the medication on his skin, his fur began coming out in clumps. This lasted for several weeks. We found patches of hair all over the house that came out in clumps. Then he developed some severe sores around his mouth on on his head near where the medication was applied. Over the course of the last 4-6 weeks, he has developed bumps all over his skin, and another sore at the base of his tail. He has lost weight, he drools more, his breathing is a little labored at times, and he vomits regularly. However, he doesn't seem to be in any pain, which is why I think it is likely an allergic reaction to the medication. I have been monitoring the sores to make sure they don't get infected, and watching for any signs of pain or extreme discomfort. After reading the other reports of reactions, I'm almost certain his symptoms are a bad reaction to the medication. I'm not going to take him to the vet mainly because he is so old, and doesn't seem to be in any discomfort or pain. So I am just going to continue to monitor him, and hope it doesn't get worse. I'm really hoping that after 6 weeks, the worst is over, and that the medication should start working itself out of his system now. Does anyone have any experience with recovery after a very bad reaction? And if so, how long did it take?

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Maestro

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American

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4 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Kitty would suddenly cry as if he was being hurt. Rash appeared at the flea med application site, on the back of his neck, he salivated, vomited and became lethargic. My other kitties have no reaction at all to Advantage. I have to assume that Maestro is allergic.

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Kito

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Savannah

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lathargic Anorexic Diarreah

A week ago I put Advantage flea treatment on my 3 year old cat. 24 hours later he became very lathargic and anorexic and diarreah. Took him to the vet the day later. He had a raised temperature of 1 degree. Vet said it wasn't Advantage but a virus. Over the next few days he improved but now a week later after I wet his fur to wipe off some dust after he'd rolled he has gone downhill again,he licked his fur to smooth it down. Now he is just sleeping and not eating again. I'm hoping he will perk up again tomorrow. If it was Advantage how long do the negative effects take to go?

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Jax

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Oriental

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Skin Irritation
Foaming At Mouth

Immediately after applying Advocate spot on my cat reacted as if he was hurting. Bolted down the hallway, I initially thought it was a response to the smell. However when he ran back up the hall way he was hiding under the table foaming at the mouth. I knew immediately he was having an allergic reaction. I rushed him into the bathroom and washed off the medication. Will never use spot on again especially after reading these comments. For the small amount of time this product was on him he now also has a pea sized balled spot exactly where I applied the medication.

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Raffles

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siamese kitten

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5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Third Eyelid, Upset Tum, Wind

We were advised by our vet to treat our Siamese kitten with Advocate a monthly spot on. Actually we were pressured I even raised concerns about possible side effects. Shortly after the vet applied the spot on our kitten developed an upset stomach and his third eyelid showed for a few days (the vet insisted this was just due to settling in to his new home). He then had his second dose two weeks ago as four doses were part of the vaccination package we purchased. Since then he's had third eyelid visable again and OMG he can clear a house with his wind!!!! He was also very off balance for 12 hours after application. We will never use that stuff again they can keep the other two months we paid for. Will his system eventually settle down? He's eating fine, drinking and playing no problem and we've changed all food to one for sensitive tummy. He had a full check up before the damned Advocate and a completely clean bill of health!!

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