Revolution Is Excellent And Safe For Flea Control And Heartworm Prevention

Debra writes: Hi, I have an 18 year old Persian. I am a HUGE fan of Revolution, however, a few months ago I gave it to her and she appeared to get quite sick afterwards. At the time she was in a bad cycle with her arthritis. I am fearful of giving her Revolution again. Knowing how old she is (and having other health problems), do you think Revolution could cause more stress on her body? We are in the middle of summer here and fleas are everywhere! Deb

Upper-teens cats need special care. They spend a lot of time resting because they NEED the rest.
Upper-teens cats need special care. They spend a lot of time resting because they NEED the rest.

Without meaning to be crude I’ll remind you of the old saying, “When we assume, we make…”

In this case we have assumed that the Revolution made our 18-year-old Persian kitty “quite sick.”  Yet, look at the facts:

  • the cat is 18 years old, which is old by any standard you measure cat age,
  • she is “having other health problems,” although those weren’t identified,
  • she was “in a bad cycle with her arthritis.”

Having my own elderly cat, Martha, as well as many senior cats in our practice, I know all about the daily ups and downs they experience.

It would help to know the nature of her “quite sick” and “other health problems,” but if applying Revolution happened to coincide with an already-bad day it could just as easily have been one of the other things that made her feel bad.

Here’s what I would do if she were my kitty (or my patient):

  • If she had not recently had laboratory testing (CBC, Chemistry Profile, urinalysis and thyroid testing), I would have those repeated now.  By doing so you will have accurate, updated information on the status of her metabolic health problems.
  • Ensure that she is getting her arthritis treatment on schedule.
  • Step up the level of flea control in both the house and the yard.
  • Remember that the package insert tells us not to administer Revolution to sick, debilitated or underweight animals.  If your kitty is in a cycle of not feeling well, you may need to wait until she is better before administering her Revolution.
  • Of course, follow the advice of your own pet’s doctor regarding her care.

I’m reminded of a case I saw just this week.  A gentleman brought in his cat for an evalution.  She had a prior history of kidney disease and hyperthyroidism.  She had not had laboratory testing in over eight months.  Fortunately, the lab test results were mostly good, so he was comforted by the news.  Still, it’s easy for problems to get ahead of us quickly with geriatric patients if we don’t stay right on top of them.  Examinations and testing should come no more than six months apart, and many older cats and dogs need even more frequent testing.

One last thing.  There are several overseas Web sites that advertise “Revolution” and other “medications” for sale without a prescription.  While it is a direct violation of U.S. law to import such products illegally, there is little that can be done.  Regular readers and subscribers already know that I’m not a fan of online and catalogue “pharmacies.”  IF you did not obtain your Revolution from your veterinarian you should be suspect of its authenticity.  Anyone who would illegally export a product might also defraud you (and your pet) about its ingredients.  Caveat emptor.

By the way, I join Debra in being a HUGE fan of Revolution.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.


  1. In your comment above you mentioned the gentleman with the cat who had kidney disease and hyperthyroidism but you did not say whether or not Revolution was safe for the cat. My 21 year old cat has the same conditions plus high blood pressure, chronic pancreatitis and arthritis. I am concerned about a toxin that will stay in his system for a month. Will it damage his kidneys further? Would a Capstar tablet as needed be a better option since it is only in the system 24 hours? I understand it doesn’t cover as much but a Capstar tablet occasionally would keep the fleas controlled. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Lori

    • The Revolution label says that it is to be used only in healthy animals. Therefore, unless your local veterinarian OKs it, I would rather see you work with him/her to work out a reliably safe plan for flea control. It would be unwise for me to give such advice for a patient I’d never examined, especially one with so many health challenges. Congratulations on reaching 21 years of age!

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