Every canine owner has one common enemy when it comes to their furry babies- Parasite. Our little ones have a flair for attracting worms- be it externally or internally. From soil to sand they love to scoot, everything is a rich ground for coming in contact with parasites. Apart from fleas and ticks that are external parasites, there are many internal parasites that can cause a lot of problems for your little one. These parasites can shorten your dog’s lifespan and target the human body as a second source if left untreated.
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How to know if my dog has worms?
Ticks latch themselves to different parts of their host’s body. Both ticks and scabies produce frequent episodes of itching accompanied by scratching. There is a patchy loss of hair with redness in the localized spots and self-mutilation. The hair loss starts in the legs and grows throughout the body. Additionally, the ticks grow bigger over time, making them clearly visible. Internal worms are a little difficult to diagnose. Five main types of internal worms can affect your canine darling. Roundworms, Tapeworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, and Heartworms. Each worm is different from the other.
But there are some general symptoms like
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Blood with worms in the stool (sometimes living worms)
- Lackluster coat
- Blood in stool
In this regard, timely deworming will help your dog with present discomforts.
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is primarily an anthelmintic medication used to treat parasitic infection both externally and internally. Anthelmintics are antiparasitic medications used for expelling worms from the body. Anthelmintics either kill the worms or stun them, after which they are expelled from the body but without affecting the host. Ivermectin was discovered by Satoshi Omura and William Campbell in 1975 and was approved for veterinary use in 1981. With time, it has proven its superiority over other veterinary antiparasitic medications and emerged as one of the most preferred anthelmintics for canine parasitic treatment.
What is Ivermectin used for in dogs?
Ivermectin works as an effective heartworm preventive in dogs of almost all age groups and breeds. It has the added advantage of being readily available and cost-effective. Heartworm in dogs can either consist of older worms living previously in the system, larva worms hatched from the eggs of elder worms, or newly arrived worms delivered through mosquitoes and other external factors. Melarsomine, another equally effective antiparasitic though producing satisfactory results, is expensive and out of the reach of many people, including shelter animals. Ivermectin works on the heartworms by killing the larvae, newly arrived worms, with shortening the lifespan of the already present older heartworms.
What about its other uses?
Off-label it is used to treat a variety of externally present parasitic infections like demodectic mange, scabies, and ear mites. In a study conducted on 222 canines with scabies, it was proved that Ivermectin could be used in prescribed doses for successful treatment of the infection. In another study conducted on 12 privately owned dogs with demodicosis, an ideal Ivermectin dose of 0.6mg/kg proved to be helpful.
Demodicosis is an inflammatory reaction caused by the Demodex mite. Though without any major side effects, it is a cause of considerable discomfort to the canine. Additionally, it does not respond satisfactorily to many medications, which furthers Ivermectin’s effectiveness as an antiparasitic medication. Apart from these, a study conducted about mix-breed canines about Sarcoptic Mange has also yielded successful outcomes.
Is it safe?
For cases of heartworm, Ivermectin is effective in a short duration of time for the newly hatched larvae and newly arrived worms. It takes around two years for the existing older worms to die. This makes it an overall safe option but only in specific dogs who either have Ivermectin-specific worms or who are otherwise healthy and can withstand a minimum two-year waiting period. In the studies conducted regarding the efficacy of Ivermectin in other canine problems, side effects appeared only on increasing the dose of medication beyond normal limits. These side effects reversed on reducing the dose; proving that Ivermectin is safe in canines at regulated doses.
The best way of using Ivermectin in dogs
The physician recommended doses of Ivermectin in dogs are
- 6ug/kg for Heartworm infection of larvae 2-6 months old
- 50-200ug/kg for older Microfilaria
- 300ug/kg for Sarcoptic Mange
- 400-600ug/kg for Demodectic mange
- 40ug/kg for Roundworms
- 6ug-2.4ug/kg for Dirofilariasis
It can be administered orally or applied topically and even administered through injections. It is best to check for the MDR1 mutation before increasing the dose or reducing the dose of complications. MDR1 mutation is a specific mutation occurring in breeds with MDR1 genes. Breeds like Collies especially have this gene because they are more susceptible to the medication’s negative effects than other dogs.
Can Ivermectin be used for all canines?
Canines like Collies, Australian Shepherds, English Shepherds, German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, Long-Haired Whippets, and even a few breeds of hounds have the MDR1 gene. This makes them prone to hypersensitivity reactions on even lower doses of Ivermectin. Despite its complex mechanism of action, it does not cross the blood-brain barrier in normal cases. Canines with the MDR1 gene cross the blood-brain barrier and start affecting their neurological functions. Some of the most common side effects are drooling, unsteady gait, vomiting, tremors, blindness, seizures, and even coma. These dogs and their offspring produced by crossbreeding also stand at high risk.
Where to buy Ivermectin for dogs?
Ivermectin being a schedule 4 medication, is available by prescription. Because of its misuse during the recent pandemic, its sale is strictly regulated. The risk is more so because of human toxicity reactions on using the veterinary versions of the medication. You can buy Ivermectin in Australia online from registered e-pharmacies. If required, keep your pet under strict observation for a specific period after administering the medication.
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