If you want a once-a-month topical product that takes care of fleas and ticks and protects Pooch from heartworm, Revolution for Dogs fills the bill. You can't purchase Revolution over-the-counter; it requires a prescription. Your dog must test negative for heartworm before your vet will prescribe the parasiticide.
Manufactured by Pfizer under the brand name Revolution, selamectin is a broad-spectrum parasiticide. It's a colorless liquid available in single-dose tubes. It's similar in composition to ivermectin, one of the most common and effective anthelmintics, or wormers. It's similar to other common parasiticides but has distinct differences. For instance, Frontline is a topical flea control product that does not kill worms; Sentinel for dogs, which contains milbemycin oxime and lufenuron, is effective against fleas, ticks and worms but is given in pill form -- and if it is accidentally given to a dog with active heartworms, the resulting die-off can put the animal into shock and kill him. Selamectin does not have this effect, even if erroneously given to a heartworm-positive dog. Advantage Multi contains moxidectin, another powerful anthelmentic.
Packaging and Dosing
Revolution's packaging is color-coded for ease of ordering: The package is mauve for dogs that weigh less than 5 pounds, purple for those between 5.1 and 10 pounds, brown for those 10.1 to 20 pounds, red for those 20.1 to 40 pounds; teal for those 40.1 to 85 pounds and plum for dogs 85 to 130 pounds. Packages are available with three doses or six doses.
Applying the topical medicine is easy. According to the directions on the label, firmly press the cap down to puncture the tube's seal. Take off the cap and make sure the tube tip is open. Part the hair on your dog's neck in front of his shoulder blades until you see skin. Place the tip of the tube on the skin and squeeze it three or four times to get the contents out in one spot. Continue squeezing the tube and drag it away from the fluid, lifting to remove. The drug is absorbed through the skin into your dog's bloodstream. Don't apply Revolution to broken or wet skin. You can bathe your dog a day or so after administration without losing Revolution's protection.
Revolution gets rid of the majority of the parasites that can plague your pup. Used monthly, it kills adult fleas and keeps flea eggs from hatching. It usually kills ear mites in one dose, although a followup dose may be necessary if mites are the only reason you're using the product. While you'll need regular monthly protection to keep ticks at bay, it might not kill all ticks until after the second dose if your dog is heavily infested. Applied year-round, Revolution prevents adult heartworm development. For dogs diagnosed with sarcoptic mange, Revolution kills the mange-causing mites within one or two applications. It's also effective against hookworm and roundworm.
Most dogs tolerate Revolution well. Some animals might develop irritation or hair loss at the application site. Rare side effects include excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite. Some dogs experience seizures. In clinical safety studies, collies with sensitivity to the heartworm medication ivermectin displayed excessive salivation when given several times the recommended dosage of selamectin. Ask your veterinarian about using Revolution if you have a collie or collie mix. Don't give Revolution to puppies less than 6 weeks old or to debilitated or sick dogs.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.