General Description: Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug used monthly in dogs and cats to prevent heartworm infection and for the treatment and control of hookworms and some forms of mange. Topical solutions are used also to kill ear mites. This medication is available as regular tablets, chewable tablets and also as a topical solution.
What is this drug?
Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug
Ivermectin is given by mouth, or topically (ear mites)
Reasons for prescribing:
For heartworm prevention in dogs and cats
For treatment and control of adult and immature hookworm infections in cats
For treatment of some types of mange
Topical solution is used to treat ear mites
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?
Puppies and kittens less than 6 weeks of age
Use with caution in Collies, Australian shepherds, Old English sheepdogs, Shelties and any of these crossbreed dogs
Should not be used in turtles and with great caution in some bird species
Considered safe for use in young cats at the regular heartworm preventive doses
Pets known to have had an allergic reaction to ivermectin or like products
Give this medication with or without food. Ivermectin is bitter, so some pets may need the taste masked with food.
Ensure that your pet consumes the entire dose.
Give medication as directed by your veterinarian. This medication is often given seasonally.
As a heartworm preventative, this medication is given once a month, beginning within a month after the pet’s first exposure to mosquitoes. The medication kills the parasites acquired during the previous month. The final dose should be given within a month of the last exposure to mosquitoes. Ideally, give the medication on or about the same day each month.
If this product replaces another type of heartworm preventive, the first dose must be given within 30 days after the last dose of the previous product.
As a topical ear mite killer, this product is usually given as a single treatment that is repeated several weeks later. Read and follow the label carefully.
What if dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time. If you miss more than 8 weeks in a row, give the drug as soon as you remember, but you should have your pet’s blood tested for heartworms within 6 months (as infection may have occurred).
What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
When will your pet need to be rechecked
Whether a blood test will need to be performed prior to treatment with this drug
Risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:
If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medicines can be given together.
Storage and Warnings:
Store in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.
Dispose of this product properly as it is very toxic to fish, turtles and other wildlife.
People should not take this product. Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets. Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Potential side effects:
Side effects are rare for ivermectin given at heartworm preventive doses
Considered to be safe in pregnant and nursing animals
Problems may arise at high doses in some dogs, especially Collies, Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, Shelties and any of these crossbreed dogs. If your dog is one of these breeds, observe your pet for at least 8 hours after treatment for any signs of weakness, staggering, dilated pupils, trembling, etc. Take your pet to your veterinary clinic if s/he exhibits these symptoms.
When the parasite begin to die off, the animal may experience swelling, irritation and pain at the sites where the parasites are located. Dogs with a large number of heartworm larvae (immature heartworm) may experience a shock-like reaction as the parasites die all at once.
Reports of pain and vomiting in a small number of cats after the topical use of ivermectin for ear mites
It is important to stop therapy and contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has a medical problem or side effect from this product’s therapy
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
Yes, when ivermectin is used at heartworm preventive doses, there are no contraindicated drugs. When higher doses are used (ie. for skin mites), interactions may occur with amitraz dips and collars (Mitaban®, Preventic®), spinosad (Comfortis™) or valiumor-related tranquilizers.
If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian
Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet consumes more than the prescribed amount.
What else should I know?
Notify your veterinarian if your animal’s condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.
As with all prescribed medicines, ivermectin should only be given to the dog/cat for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.
This is just a summary of information about ivermectin. If you have any questions or concerns about ivermectin or for the condition it was prescribed, contact your veterinarian.