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What is Revolution Allergy?

Revolution (also called selamectin) is a topical medication that is used for flea and heartworm prevention. While the product has been tested and is safe, some cats may experience a reaction to it where their immune system will overreact to an element of the medication, leading to allergy symptoms. While symptoms in cases of a reaction are usually mild, it is important to seek medical attention should you notice a reaction after administering the medication in order to ensure the best outcome for your cat.

When a cat is experiencing an allergy to Revolution, it is the result of their immune system overreacting to an element of the medication upon it having contact with their skin or being ingested.

Symptoms of Revolution Allergy in Cats

Symptoms of an allergy to Revolution are similar to those of other allergies. These include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Inflammation in their skin
  • Scratching, biting and/or licking his skin
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Hives
  • Respiratory issues
  • Lethargy

Types 

Medications to prevent fleas and heartworms in your cat are typically available in topical and ingestible forms. The topical medications will be applied to the back of your cat’s neck on his skin. Should your cat experience an allergy, it can present itself right away or within a few hours or days. The topical form of the medication will be administered to your cat once a month to prevent flea and heartworm infestation. Other products that protect your cat against fleas and heartworms include:

  • Advantage multi
  • Advantage/Advantage II
  • Frontline Plus
  • Comfortis

Causes of Revolution Allergy in Cats

The active drug in Revolution is selamectin. Revolution has been tested in studies using ten times the recommended amount without negative reactions occurring, however, an allergy or negative reaction, while rare, is possible. An allergy to Revolution occurs when the mast cells of your cat’s immune system mount an aggressive response to one of the components of the medication. The mast cells release a histamine which will lead to inflammation in the tissues it comes in contact with as they attempt to fight what they see as an intruder. The histamine that is released leads to the allergy symptoms your cat experiences.

Diagnosis of Revolution Allergy in Cats

Should you notice concerning symptoms in your cat after applying Revolution, you will want to take him to your veterinarian. After conducting a full physical examination, your veterinarian will ask you for information in regards to the symptoms you have noticed, when you first saw them and any changes you have observed. The skin symptoms your cat is experiencing will lead to your veterinarian taking a sample of his skin cells through skin scraping so that he can view them under a microscope to see if there are any parasites, yeast or bacteria present. Once those are ruled out, your veterinarian will consider possible causes of your cat’s symptoms.

A complete blood count and chemistry panel may be taken; should the specific white blood cell level be high it will point to an allergy being present in your cat. The results of the blood work will help eliminate other causes of the symptoms your cat is experiencing. Should your cat be experiencing respiratory problems, a radiograph may be taken so that your veterinarian can view his lungs and rule out illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis.

Your veterinarian will likely ask you for information about the diet of your cat as well as any supplements and medications that he takes. Be sure to mention when you administered Revolution to your cat as this may help your veterinarian pinpoint the cause of his symptoms.

Treatment of Revolution Allergy in Cats

Your cat’s treatment will depend on the symptoms he is experiencing. Should your cat be experiencing breathing difficulties, these will be addressed immediately with oxygen therapy as appropriate. An antihistamine will likely be administered to decrease the inflammation your cat is experiencing. Unfortunately, antihistamines are not effective in all cats, so this may or may not impact your cat’s condition. The antihistamine may help with any respiratory system swelling as well as skin inflammation. Should your cat be experiencing skin symptoms, shampoos and topical ointments containing hydrocortisone may be recommended to give him immediate, though short term, relief. 

Corticosteroids (either injected or administered orally) are often very helpful though they have serious side effects when used over a long period of time. Should your veterinarian recommend corticosteroids, he will usually plan to monitor your cat’s blood chemistry levels to catch any potential issues as a result of the medication. If your cat develops a secondary bacterial infection due to their excessive licking and scratching, an antibiotic will be prescribed.

Recovery of Revolution Allergy in Cats

You will want to work closely with your veterinarian to ensure the best outcome for your cat. Should your cat react to Revolution, you will want to avoid giving it to him in the future. Fortunately, there are other options for flea and heartworm prevention for your cat and you can choose one of those for his protection. Your veterinarian may recommend follow-up appointments so that he can see how your cat is doing and make any necessary changes to his treatment.

Revolution Allergy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Marbles
Calico
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

panting, no appetite
Panting,

My elderly cat was given a 90 day dose of Revolution at the vet today and is now panting off and on. She is drinking water and going to the bathroom but has no appetite. She is also diabetic.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Revolution (selamectin) is a safe to use treatment which has been tested at ten times the normal dose on six week old kittens with no ill effects; however rapid breathing and loss of appetite are noted side effects of selamectin. You should keep a close eye on Marbles and visit your Veterinarian if there is no improvement after a few hours. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM “Other side effects reported in cats and dogs include vomiting, diarrhea with or without blood, anorexia (decreased appetite), lethargy (sluggishness), salivation, rapid breathing, pruritus (itching), urticaria (welts, hives), erythema (skin redness), ataxia (incoordination), fever and rare instances of death.” www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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Lily
dsh
10 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Disoriented; dilated pupils

Medication Used

Paradyne Selamectin Topical, Cats

Within 2-3 hours of administering the prescribed dose, our cat is disoriented and has a dopey look in her eyes. Breathing seems regular. Tried calling pet hospital they refer me to posion control. After 40 minutes no one answered. I need to know if I should take her to pet hospital now or wait until vet opens in the morning (9 hours from now)?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1550 Recommendations
If Lilly will eat, even if it is decreased, and she isn't having tremors or seizures, you should be fine to wait until your clinic opens in the morning. Some topical medications will cause lethargy in some cats, and as long as you know that the dosage was correct, keep an eye for any further neurologic signs and have her seen if she is tremoring or seizing.

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Wookie
Domestic long hair
4 Months
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Medication Used

Ear mite
Revolution

For 4 month old kitten having possible reaction to revolution also received eat mite medication ... Vet involvement is diffcult at this time ... What are potential medications to act against reaction ... Cat is not mine just trying to get additonal info for my young niece ... Thank you

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
There are different types of reactions which may occur after the use of Revolution (selamectin) in cats; depending on the type of reaction, the specific treatment would vary. Many times, there is just a wait and see approach if there are neurological signs like twitching etc… If there is some hair loss, bathe the area with a mild cat shampoo and monitor for regrowth. If there are hives, cetirizine at 5mg per day along with bathing may help. There is no single way to manage a reaction since there are many possible different reactions, if you have any further concerns you may reach out to the manufacturer if you have no Veterinarian close to home. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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Maui
Domestic shorthair
4 Years
Critical condition
-1 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Fever
Fever Racing heart

Gave my 4 year old cat revolution. 4 days later. She is acting odd and lethargic. She doesn’t seem to know me and breathing or heart beating way to fast. Took to bet. She had 104 fever and blood shows heart problem. They think hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Fever still with antibiotic. She doesn’t respond to me. Like before. Bet is very negative. Will she improve?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Lethargy and increased respiratory rates are noted side effects of Revolution (selamectin), however I cannot indicate whether the Revolution is the cause of the symptoms (normally symptoms present within a few hours) or due to another cause. Without examining Maui myself I cannot give you an indication of prognosis, it is a case of taking a wait and see approach to see how Maui responds to treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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Mia
tabby
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Redness
Hair Loss

Medication Used

Selamectin

I applied a monthly revolution packet to my cat's posterior neck last Thursday night, before going out of town. When I returned last night, I noticed a patch of red, scabby/dry skin (it pretty much looks like an abrasion that is infected, but at the dry crusty stage) and hair loss at the application site (about quarter size). She has no other noticeable changes and the redness doesn't appear to have spread since then (about 12 hours). I don't remember her having this reaction before.

Note: it took me a few more tries than usual to empty the entire revolution packet onto her skin. Is it possible that this irritation is from me pressing too hard? Can you apply neosporin to cats? thank you for your help! I'm legit broke, but can figure out vet costs, if you think she needs it.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1550 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Some cats will have a local reaction to topical flea prevention, and that may be what is happening since you noticed the spot after you applied the Revolution. If Mia isn't scratching at the spot, and it doesn't get bigger, or more red, or more scabby, you should be able to monitor it for improvement. If it is getting bigger or more inflamed, or she is scratching or seems irritated by the area, she should be seen by your veterinarian. I hope that everything goes well for her!

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Colin
tabby
7 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Nausea

Medication Used

Vomiting

I gave my complete indoor cats, a 7 year old and a 17 year old, revolution last night. Today the 17 year old threw up a mass amount of clear liquid once and has been fine since. The 7 year old however has thrown up all day long. Every time he moves a little bit, he immediately hops down and has to throw up. Some has been food, most has been clear. He also seemed warmer than usual earlier and was shaking periodically. But that has stopped. He ate dinner and drank water and is sleeping right now, which is a definite good thing. I am concerned at the mass amount of vomit but relieved it is clear. I am wondering if this is a possible reaction to the revolution?
I can tell he just doesn’t feel well but I do not have the $ to go to the vet. I have subq fluids I can give if he doesn’t hold his food and water down tonight, he ate i/d food tonight. I am fresh out of cerenia though.
If this is an allergy what are the best ways to help him through the nausea and vomiting? Are there home remedies for nausea? Also if this is an allergy do I need to switch flea medication in the future?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Normally when cats have this reaction it is because they licked the application site on themselves or on each other; if this is the case it is really just waiting for the vomiting to stop and rinsing out the mouth. Vomiting is generally seen as a side effect with proper use in less than 0.5% of cases so it is unlikely that both cats would be affected, it is more likely they licked each other. Monitor them for now, but I cannot recommend you use any at home fluids as I don’t know if it is open, stored correctly, in date or you have sterile needles etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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Soldier
Domestic long hair
8 Weeks
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Bald spot

Hi. My kitten was recently treated for poisoning by Revolution due his very low weight and a very bad misunderstanding! (He was way to young for it!) he had severe diarrhoea and vomiting as well as muscle tremors but my vet managed to cure him & he is 100% better now except just 2 days ago (a week after revolution was administered) i noticed a bald spot on his head. Its quite big now. Can it be related to the revolution poisoning. Stressing about my little boy, please help!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
The prescribing information for Revolution (selamectin) states that: “Following treatment with Revolution, transient localized alopecia with or without inflammation at or near the site of application was observed in approximately 1% of 691 treated cats.” This means that it is possible that the alopecia is related to the application of Revolution, but I cannot say for 100% due to the low incidence rate. You should keep an eye on Soldier for the time being and visit your Veterinarian if the issue doesn’t resolve. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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Azul
Maine Coon
10 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Tremors
Rapid breathing

My 10 month old Maine coon has been breathing fast and having intermittent tremors for a couple of months now. He has checked out normal through a cardiologist (echo and bubble study and chest x-ray). It just occurred to me what if it is the Revolution. He has no other exposure to plants or chemicals. Is it possible for the Revolution to continue to cause symptoms throughout the month and not just immediately after application?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Both tachypnea (rapid respiratory rate) and muscle tremors are known side effects of Revolution (selamectin) poisoning, these symptoms may occur for a period of time but are generally self limiting and resolve within a few days; I don’t know of month long presentations of these side effects in my experience. You could call the manufacturer (see second link) for information on this. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf www.zoetisus.com/contact-us.aspx

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Bella
Persian
1 Year
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Hello, I bathed my 1.5 year old cat and her 6 weeks old kitten with cisaflux and now they have started vomiting white foam like thing. Please advise that what can be done to make everything alright.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Cisaflux (cypermethrin) is intended for use in dogs and is contraindicated in cats (there is a warning) since cats cannot process or eliminate cypermethrin; this is something that you should visit your Veterinarian about immediately, do not consider home treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://livein.ztsaccess.com/products/companion-animals/ectoparasiticides/cisaflux.aspx

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Brady
Dlh
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Weakness

I put revolution on my cat last Saturday morning
He went to sleep and got very lethargic. This went on thru Sunday & Monday I took him to the vet. He wasnt eating. They washed him. He's still sick. Blood work is showing high white cell count & high eso
He's weak & im
Worried

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Some cats may be sensitive to selamectin (active ingredient in Revolution) which may cause symptoms including weakness and lethargy; in many cases the only course of action is to offer supportive and symptomatic care until the medication has been eliminated from the body. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Hello, How Brady is doing since your original post?

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Imogen
DOMESTIC
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bald spot
Vomiting

A dose of revolution (5-15lb -- Imogen's last recorded weight just over 5lbs)... Now has bald spot and has thrown up a few times. She had been eating some because this evening not very interested. I don't notice any other side effects. I'm concerned for her vomiting.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
The symptoms of localised alopecia and vomiting are noted as side effects in cats as disclosed on the prescribing information: “Following treatment with Revolution, transient localized alopecia with or without inflammation at or near the site of application was observed in approximately 1% of 691 treated cats. Other signs observed rarely (≤0.5% of 1743 treated cats and dogs) included vomiting, loose stool or diarrhea with or without blood, anorexia, lethargy, salivation, tachypnea, and muscle tremors.” In these cases we recommend that any remaining product to be rinsed off (but it would be absorbed and dry by now) and encourage Imogen to drink and eat with hydration being the most important factor here. If there is no improvement or you notice more concerning symptoms you should visit a Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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Kiki
tabby
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

limp

I gave my cat Revolution for the first time yesterday. I changed revolution because I heard it was the best. Within one hour of administering my previously healthy, energetic 1-yr old cat was meowing a lot and not able to walk well with the hind legs. It has been 24 hours and although he has had moments of feeling better he is again limping and not using the right hind leg. He is eating and drinking although less amounts. Should I take him to the vet?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1550 Recommendations
That is a very unusual reaction to Revolution, if that is what caused this problem for Kiki! I'm sorry that that is happening to him. I think it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, to make sure that there isn't anything that they can do to speed up his recovery, and to make sure that nothing else is going on. I hope that he is okay.

Hello, how is your Kiki? I hope he is improving.

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B
Siamese
5 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

scratching

I have 4 cats. A while back I applied to their skin Revolution (selamectin) in the correct amount. Only one of them, a 5 year old Siamese male, has been scratching a lot mostly at his head, face, neck, which prompted me to take him to the vet. He was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex. He has never scratched himself before and none of the other cats are scratching themselves. He is now scratching himself constantly. He eats Wellness, Blue Buffalo and Halo. Tried food trials. For a while I didn’t give him any chicken but it didn’t seem to help. Have given him two shots of depomedrole since then but I really would not want to continue on that route. Going back over everything, it made me wonder if perhaps he had an allergic reaction to Revolution. Can cats develop EGC from Revolution?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1550 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. EGC is an immune disorder in cats, and it can be unknown whata might cause it. It is unusual for that disease to develop from a topical appication of Revolution, but probably not unheard of. If might be best to switch to an oral form of flea/heartworm prevention for him. Your veterinarian can guide you in deciding approrpriate medication.

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Rayna
Ragdoll
14 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

scratching

I need to give my 14 year old cat Revolution, but am concerned about her weight, which is only 5.13 pounds. Is it okay for her to have the medication at such a low weight? also, she gets Depo Medrol shots every four months for allergies.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
There are various weight sizes of Revolution (selamectin) in cats including doses of 5lb or less and 5-15lb body weight; if you have concerns you should discuss with your Veterinarian before administration. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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Norris
Domestic shorthair
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
scratching
Lethargy
Licking

Hello,

I gave my 3 year old male can flea drops last week after he showed symptoms of having fleas. (This is the brand: http://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/cat-flea-treatment/cat-spot-on-flea-repellent-drops-12-weeks?i=18&orderBy=3)

He has no signs of fleas anymore, but is still very lethargic, scratches himself a lot around the neck area and licks himself more than usual.

He is still eating and drinking normally, but has lost about 400g of weight. I initially thought it could be worms, but he is treated for ring worm and I haven't seen any signs in his stool. Could it be an allergic reaction?

Many thanks,
Maria

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1550 Recommendations
Some cats respond to topical flea medications with those signs, and if he isn't feeling well and is losing weight, it might be worth washing the product off with cat shampoo (I'm not sure how long ago you put the product on, but if it is less than 2 days, this may help). If he continues to lose weight or his skin is getting infected, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, and get a flea product that may be a little more safe for him.

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Melvin
dsh
7 Weeks
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

7 week old kitten given application of revolution by vet to treat fleas and worms-had diarrhea start 2 days after that! Is that normal? He is eating fine and drinking fine.. but the diarrhea is so bad he shakes from the pain when he goes! :(

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Diarrhoea is a known side effect of Revolution (selamectin) and is normally self limiting, resolving itself after a few days (see quote below from prescribing information); keep an eye on Melvin and visit your Veterinarian if there is no improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM “Following treatment with Revolution, transient localized alopecia with or without inflammation at or near the site of application was observed in approximately 1% of 691 treated cats. Other signs observed rarely (≤0.5% of 1743 treated cats and dogs) included vomiting, loose stool or diarrhea with or without blood, anorexia, lethargy, salivation, tachypnea, and muscle tremors.” www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

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