Most canine worm medicines are actually large animal wormers. Horse wormers are used for hookworms, heartworm, and roundworms. Canine tapeworms require special de-wormers.
WORMERS (ANTHELMINTICS) DOSAGE CHART
2015 Update - Wormers, like flea and tick killers, are constantly in a state of flux, so make sure your vet and you keep up to date on the latest studies. But don’t automatically assume that if something new is highly effective, that it is the best. Many old and relatively safe approaches can still be used.
Telmin™ (mebendazole), Scoloban™ (bunamidine), DNP, Vermiplex, and Styquin are effectively off the market in the U.S. Wormers similar to Vermiplex™ may kill a fairly high percentage of hookworms, roundworms, and considerable numbers of tapeworms, but not enough to completely eradicate an infestation; many of these are principally toluene or similarly offensive solvents. They usually require fasting before effective administration.
RELATIVE EFFICACY OF THE COMMON ANTHELMINTICS (WORMERS)
*When packaged for cattle and sold in feed stores without prescription. Ivermectin had long been sold “off-label” for dogs; it has been considered dangerous in Collies, Shelties, and crosses of these, if given in doses large enough for treating intestinal worms.
**Pyrantel pamoate is also sold as a paste for horses, but dividing doses of that form is difficult; the pleasant-tasting liquid sold for dogs is easiest to administer, though tablets are also available. For hookworm, which is hard to rid from the premises, every other week for 6 weeks may be required. Better to switch to Ivermectin after the first dose.
***Panacur is effective against only one type of tapeworm (Taenia, not Dipylidium); it is administered for 5 days for the tapeworm and 3 days for other worms.
In all cases, it is wise to treat the dam 2-3 weeks after whelping, or after her pups start eating “solid” food in the last stage of the weaning process. I have found that almost all intestinal worm problems seen in North America can be prevented by dosing pups when they are 2 weeks old with Nemex, effective against canine roundworms and hookworms, and then start oral Ivermectin another two weeks after that. My own procedure on that latter wormer follows:
Worms, the tick problem and Ivermectin: For worms and/or ticks, I use Ivomec (a brand name), purchased at feed stores in 50-ml bottles of 1% injectable Ivermectin (it’s the active ingredient in Heartgard). Sold there for cattle & swine, the same stuff takes care of various worms in the canine. One bottle will possibly last most of a little dog’s life, but even with large breeds, you won’t be spending the small fortune that others do. I store mine in the refrigerator, even though there doesn’t appear to be a shelf-life problem at room temperature. It’s up to you (and maybe your vet, if you wish) what you choose, but I have had good results with the following protocol.
Some people asked me, “Can I figure out the dosage from the label on the bottle?” Yes, but is it necessary? You may have to do a lot of converting of volume measurements, metric system designations, etc. What others use (it already has been done for you) may be close enough, as long as you feel comfortable with its use in your breed. I have had many years of success, with never a sick dog because of Ivermectin. I have treated my GSDs, Shibas, and Whippets with it.
I dose orally, not by injection, even though I buy the “injectable” form from my local farm supply & feed store. You should understand that less of almost any drug gets into the circulatory system if ingested, than if injected. Keeping that in mind, the manufacturers’ suggested levels (designed for hypodermic injection) are usually a good bit below what they probably would recommend for oral administration.
The Heartgard dosage to prevent heartworm, as I once wrote down from their old literature, is 6 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. But buying the high-priced pills from the vet is too expensive for my tastes, when I get the same results by shopping where the livestock farmers shop. The insert in the package of 1% injectable sterile solution Ivomec (labeled “for cattle and swine”) recommends 1 milliliter (ml) per 110 pounds of bovine, and 1 ml per 75 pounds of swine. Anatomically and medically speaking, dogs are more similar to pigs than to cows, so I chose the swine dosage as a starting point. Equivalents in medical jargon are 200 and 300 micrograms per kilogram of body weight in cattle and swine, respectively, both much higher than what I use monthly.
The insert explains that Ivermectin’s “wide margin of safety [in mammals] is attributable to the fact that... [the active ingredients, lactones]... do not readily cross the blood-brain barrier. In other words, the chemical/drug acts so much more on the brainless parasite than on your smart, “brainy” dog. In cattle and swine, the Ivomec insert says, Ivermectin is effective against gastro-intestinal worms, lice, and mites.
For heartworm prevention, I aim for approximately 0.15 ml for every 50 lbs. of dog body weight, 0.21 ml for 75 lbs., and 0.27 for 100 lbs. Naturally, you can’t be accurate to two decimal places, even when you use a 1-ml “TB” syringe, but I don’t have to be precise, as it is quite a safe drug for almost all breeds, especially at this low preventive maintenance level. I dose once a month, and I don’t worry about giving a little more than the above amounts. I don’t even do stool checks any more; just use that dosage as a prophylactic (preventive) approach. Almost any diabetic can get a hypodermic syringe and needle for you.
Owners of certain at-risk Collies, Shelties, Sheltie mixes such as Silken Windhounds, perhaps Australian Shepherds, Kelpies, etc. might want to check current knowledge on vet websites for information on “the mdr1 mutation”. As the moderator of the VetMed list says, “Mixes of unknown pedigree should be treated with caution at the higher Ivermectin doses.” Which higher doses, you may ask? Well, that’s a reference to using the drug for killing intestinal worms. For actual round, hook, or whipworm presence, or high exposure risk such as weekly exhibition on probably-contaminated dog show grounds, I give my dogs 0.3 to 0.4 ml per 25 lbs., or 1 ml per 75 lbs. every 4 or 6 months instead of their regular low-dose level. I also use the higher dose to combat ticks when they get especially bothersome.
TICKS - While I still maintain that the best way to control ticks is to go over your dog every day and pluck them off with a tweezers and drown them in soapy water (or other detergent), you can also get an additional measure of control by using Ivermectin. Especially if you have an unusually bad tick year. Higher doses than I use against worms are used in Australia in Aboriginal communities (where the children and some of the adults sleep and otherwise are in intimate contact with their dogs) to kill ticks and sarcoptic mites on family dogs. In that country, the use of Ivermectin as a public health measure has favorably affected mortality rates of both man and dog, and greatly improved the health of both. When the dogs are made tick-free and cleared of Sarcoptes, the children benefit because they no longer contract these diseases from their furry friends. There is much history elsewhere of using it for mites & ticks. In much larger, more frequent doses, it has been used against demodectic mange. My personal experience, verified by anecdotes from others, is that Ivermectin has considerable action against ear mites and ticks (which are non-insects) but not against fleas (insects).
The higher de-worming level I mentioned earlier is what I also use (in alternate months, two to four times a year) when ticks get bad (as in 2007 and 2008 when we in northern Alabama have seen the third-worst tick problem in 30 years), or else I give the dogs an extra mid-month (roundworm-control-size) dose, and that helps control the ticks a great deal. The nasty little arthropods still bite, but very few survive long enough to suck much blood. They tend to “die and dry”. By the way, this “large dose” (as I call the one I give for other than heartworm preventive), is the same that pigs get by injection. And as I said, not as much gets absorbed through the gut as would if injected subcutaneously.
Procedure: I stick a 1-ml “hypo” (the size sold to diabetics, and what used to be called a “TB syringe”) into the rubber-stoppered 50-ml bottle and keep it in the refrigerator more for convenience than any instability problem. The first of the month, I pull the desired amount into the barrel, disconnect it so that the needle stays in the bottle (stuck in the rubber seal), and squirt the selected volume into the mouth of the dog.
The site http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WALTHAMOSU2002&PID=2984 has more on efficacy of medications like this. I hope this has been informative. The above information is not a medical recommendation; by law in most states, you need to confer with your veterinarian for that.
Ivermectin vs. other drugs: Here, as additional information, is a collection of some of the statistics on adverse effects of the various heartworm preventatives currently on the market. The data in the following list was compiled from the Food and Drug Administration listing of Adverse Drug Experience Reports. The number of deaths per year is significant, although comparative percentages are not given. Selected other adverse events are also reported.
Ivermectin, Oral, Dogs (Heartgard & other brands) Year approved: 1987
Number of Adverse Drug Experience (ADE) Reports in FDA through 7/Jun/2007: 1,069 (per year: 53)
Total Deaths: 126 (6 per year since FDA approval); Anemia: 6; Platelets low: 3; autoimmune hem: 3
Reports of ineffectiveness against heartworm: 10 per year
Ivermectin & Pyrantel combination, Oral, Dog (Heartgard Plus): Year approved: 1993
Number of Adverse Drug (ADE) Reports in FDA through 7 June 2007: 9,871 (705/yr)
Total Deaths: 97 (7/yr); Selected other adverse events reported: Convulsion(s): 197; Anemia: 25; Autoimmune hemolytic anemia: 20; Platelets low: 9
Reports of ineffectiveness against heartworm: 156/yr
Milbemycin, Oral, Dog (Interceptor™ brand name) Year approved; 1995
Total Deaths: 159 (13/yr); Convulsions: 268; Anemia: 29; autoimmune hem: 15; Platelets low: 1
Reports of ineffectiveness against heartworm (total): 2757
Milbemycine oxide with Luferon [sp.?], Oral, Dogs (Sentinel™): Year approved: 1995
ADE Reports in FDA through 7 June 2007: 1,777 (148/yr)
Total Deaths: 43 (5/yr); Convulsions: 109; Anemia: 10; autoimmune hem.: 8; others: 4; Platelets low: 12
Total reports of ineffectiveness against heartworm: 775 (65/yr)
Selamectin, Topical, Dogs (Revolution™) Year approved: 1999
Total Deaths: 217 (27/yr); Convulsions: 339; Anemia: 60; Autoimmune hem: 16; Other anenmia: 37; Platelets low: 59
Total reports of ineffectiveness against heartworm: 3,855 (481/yr)
Selected other ineffectivness reports: fleas: 1,622; ticks: 501; ear mites: 206; mites: 61; sarcoptes mites: 56; other ectoparasites: 11; treating for hookworms: 11; hookworm prevention: 45.
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