Selamectin in Dogs and Cats: Common Usages and Indications for Canine and Feline Revolution®

November 16, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

Selamectin is best known as the active ingredient found in the medication known as Revolution®. Selamectin is applied topically onto the skin, usually between the shoulder blades of the dog or cat, and has a number of different indications for usage.

Revolution® is formulated with selamectin dosages appropriate for either dogs or cats and available as either Canine Revolution® or Feline Revolution®, in various sizes depending on body weight.

Selamectin kills parasites infecting dogs and cats by stimulating the release of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) and consequently inhibiting neurotransmission and blocking the stimulation of neurons to cause paralysis.

Selamectin (Revolution®) as a Canine and Feline Heartworm Preventive Medicine

One of the prime indications for using selamectin, or Revolution®, is as a heartworm preventive medicine for both dogs and cats. When used to prevent heartworms, selamectin needs to be applied monthly.

Selamectin is not effective where adult heartworms are present and is not effective in killing microfilaria (larval heartworms) circulating in the blood stream of dogs and cats infected with heartworms.


Selamectin as a Flea Control Medicine for Dogs and Cats

Another primary indication for using selamectin is as a flea control medicine for both dogs and cats. As with any flea control product, selamectin is most effective when used as a preventive measure before the dog or cat becomes infested with fleas. However, selamectin will treat an existing flea infestation also. Selamectin should be used monthly for the most effective flea control.

Using Selamectin for Ear Mite Treatment

Selamectin also kills ear mites and is therefore an effective ear mite treatment for dogs and cats. One application is often effective in treating ear mites in infected dogs and cats. However, a second dose of selamectin can be applied after one month for stubborn infections.

Other Uses of Selamectin in Dogs

Selamectin can also be used in dogs to treat:

  • one type of tick, known as Dermacentor variabilis. A repeat dose of selamectin may be necessary two weeks following the initial treatment if the infestation of ticks is heavy. However, it should be noted that selamectin is not known to be effective against other types of ticks.
  • sarcoptic mange. A second monthly dose of selamectin may be necessary if the mange infection has not cleared in one month.

Other Uses of Selamectin in Cats

In cats, selamectin is also known to be secreted into the intestinal tract and can be used to treat hookworm and roundworm infections.

Potential Side Effects of Selamectin

Selamectin is safe for pregnant animals and for nursing female dogs and cats. However, the medicine should not be used in puppies and kittens less than 6 weeks of age and should be used with caution in sick, underweight or debilitated animals. Some Collie breeds may also be sensitive to selamectin toxicity due to a genetic mutation. Caution should be used in these breeds when using selamectin.

Though selamectin is generally safe, side effects have been noted in some cases with its usage. Side effects may include:

  • localized hair loss in the area where selamectin was applied
  • itchiness
  • swelling
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • muscle tremors
  • lack of appetite
  • depression
  • excess salivation
  • rapid respiratory rate
  • seizures (rarely)
  • incoordination (rarely)

Selamectin should be used topically only and should not be administered orally.

Selamectin (Revolution®) is used as a heartworm preventive medicine, a flea control medicine and an ear mite treatment in both dogs and cats and has several other indications as well. It is relatively safe and frequently used in pets. However, as with any medication, the potential for side effects is present and animals should be observed closely after treatment with selamectin.

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