Ivermectin for Dogs

Ivermectin for dogs is used to treat several medical conditions besides heartworm disease and infections. It is a broad spectrum medication that was first introduced in the 1980s. It can be safely used to treat most breeds of dogs although some breeds may not react well to the medication.


Ivermectin is the principal ingredient in medications that are used primarily for the prevention of heartworm diseases in dogs. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in canines. This medication can literally save the life of your pet and has few if any, side effects in most dog breeds.

Ivermectin is a combination of avermectins. These avermectins are responsible for increasing the number of receptor cells in the central nervous system of mammals and can cause intoxication if this active ingredient is administered in high doses.

Dogs that are Sensitive to Ivermectin

Breeds of dogs that display a genetic sensitivity to Ivermectin are collies, Shetland sheepdogs, English sheepdogs and Australian sheepdogs. These breeds have a different blood-brain barrier than other breeds of dogs and display a susceptibility to intoxication caused by Ivermectin. These dogs can take a period of months to recover from this intoxication.

Effectiveness of Ivermectin against Various Medical Conditions

Ivermectin is used in small doses for the prevention of heartworm infections in dogs and is found in brand heartworm medications such as Heartgard and several generic heartworm medications. Since it’s used in low doses for heartworm infections, it has a decreased potential to cause side effects and is therefore approved by the FDA as a heartworm preventative medication.

As a pet owner you often only realize that your pet has heartworm infection when he becomes emaciated. Hence, Ivermectin when used as a preventative, can save your pet’s life by killing heart worm larvae and preventing your pet from contracting a full blown infection.

Additional Usages of Ivermectin

Ivermectin is also used to treat infections such as sarcoptic mange, Demodectic mange and ear infections that are caused by mites. However, it has to be used in much higher doses to treat these conditions and has to be used off the label as the FDA doesn’t approve the use of Ivermectin at such high dosages. Although Ivermectin is a safe drug, it can cause side effects in dogs at higher dosages, especially to dogs that have a genetic sensitivity to the drug.

Side Effects of Ivermectin:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Depression
  • Excessive drooling or salivation
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Decrease or increase in heart rate
  • Nervousness
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Coma
  • Death


Ivermectin is contraindicated when used in conjunction with medications such as valium, amitraz dips, topical treatments for fleas and mites, and tranquillizers.

The best way to protect your pet against heartworm infection and infections caused by mites is to keep the environment and the dog’s body clean. Ivermectin can be used safely as a preventative medication for heartworm infections and to rid your pet of mites responsible for Demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange, except in certain breeds that are sensitive to this medication.