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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Revolution 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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Bella

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Persian

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

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.

July 18, 2018

Bella's Owner

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0 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

July 19, 2018

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Maui

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Domestic shorthair

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4 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

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?

July 4, 2018

Maui's Owner

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0 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

July 5, 2018

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Norris

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Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Lethargy
Licking
Scratching

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

June 30, 2018

Norris' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 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.

June 30, 2018

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Lily

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dsh

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Disoriented; Dilated Pupils

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)?

June 30, 2018

Lily's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 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.

June 30, 2018

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Wookie

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Domestic long hair

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4 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

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

June 27, 2018

Wookie's Owner

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1 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

June 28, 2018

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Foo

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mixed

dog-age-icon

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

Coughing
Lethargic
Sores
Scratching

I have 6 cats. I recently applied Revolution on them and two of the cats developed a bald spot at the application spot and my one cat developed a bad cough and I believe he has become asthmatic. I have to give him an inhaler every so often when he has an attack. They all are scratching themselves a lot more too. Another one has become very lethargic and not himself. I won’t be giving Revolution to my cats in the future.

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Luna

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domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Itching

Sorry if this is a duplicate, but i lost my last attempt! My indoor cats somehow got fleas . My vet recommended Revolution and i applied it yesterday. Everyone seems fine except my 3 year old cat, Luna. She is scratching excessively at the application site. I'm afraid this might be an allergic reaction as opposed to the fleas because it seems to be exactly where i applied the medication. Of course, its now Sunday and my vet is closed. I'm not sure if this warrants an emergency vet visit or if it's ok to give her Benadryl and see if that helps til i can get her to my vet tomorrow? She has no other symptoms except for the scratching. I also thought about washing the application site to see if it helps.

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Lunas

dog-breed-icon

American

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Watery Eyes
Bald Spots
Scratching
Missing Fur
Neck, Throat And Head Affected

My cat has a mild food allergy and the vet prescribed revolution plus as part of their allergy protocol even though my cat has never had fleas or ticks etc. The day after revolution plus was given, she had watery eyes that left her cheeks wet and she couldn’t stop sneezing. Things progressed to excessive scratching around her neck and throat and she ended up with a lot of missing fur, sores and patches of missing fur from the top of her head. I took her to the emergency room where she was prescribed prednisolone and antihistamine. I was told her body was inflamed from the allergic reaction. The prednisolone has helped but when she is tapered off the scratching and bald spots return. I wish I knew how long it would take for the Revolution Plus to leave her system.

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Tigger

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tabby

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weak Back Legs, Wobbly

Gave Revolution Plus to 3 cats, 2 were fine, my third has symptoms of weak back legs...it was very hot outside, so, I thought it was the heat, I closed the cat door and brought him in, but a few days later he is not better. I have an appointment for Monday, but am worried I waited too long, it did not occur to me at first it was a reaction to the Revolution until I started reading about it. WARNING LABEL ON BOX SHOULD BE MORE VISIBLE

dog-name-icon

Buff

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tabby

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Bald Spot

We put Revolution on our cat. Shortly after, we noticed that he has a bald spot right where we placed the medicine. We used Revolution on him throughout last year and he never got a bald spot before.

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