Ivermectin Treatment for Mange in Dogs

Ivermectin represents a drug that can be efficiently used in the treatment of parasitic infections such as mange in dogs. It is not approved by the FDA for this purpose, but it is prescribed as on off-label medicine by the veterinarians. The reason why Ivermectin did not receive the FDA approval is that the treatment of demodectic and sarcoptic mange in dogs requires high doses of this medicine.

The dosage of Ivermectin in this case differs significantly from the one recommended for heartworm infections, for example.

Types of Mange in Dogs

As previously mentioned, there are two types of mange: demodectic and sarcoptic. Both of them are contagious to some degree, but there are major differences between them. Demodectic mange can only be transmitted from a mother to a pup while nursing. After weaning, this particular variety of mange can no longer be transmitted to other dogs. As the immune system of the puppies develops, the health condition gets cured, so there may be no need for a treatment. However, Ivermectin can be used for shortening the period in which the puppies are affected by demodectic mange.

Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, is highly contagious. Because of this reason, it is mandatory to isolate the dogs that suffer from this type of mange. Also, it is very important to carefully clean the bedding of the infected animals, as well as other places they frequent. This measure needs to be taken to prevent the disease from spreading. Ivermectin is frequently prescribed as a treatment of sarcoptic mange.

Availability and Administration of Ivermectin for Dog Mange

Ivermectin is available as tablets, topical unguent and in injectable form. However, for the treatment of mange in dogs, most veterinarians prefer the tablets, as they are easier to administer. The duration of the treatment ranges between 2 and 4 weeks, and in the case of the tablets, the drug is administered orally. The dosage varies between the medicines that contain Ivermectin, so it is necessary to talk to a veterinarian before starting the treatment, as only a veterinarian is able to make dosage suggestions according to the symptoms of the dog.

Contraindications and Side Effects of Ivermectin for Dogs

Certain dog breeds, such as Rough Collie, Smooth Collie and Australian Shepherd, feature a genetic mutation of the MDR1 (multi drug resistance) gene. Ivermectin should not be prescribed to dogs from such breeds, as they are very sensitive to this medicine. Other breeds may also manifest adverse reactions to Ivermectin, such as:

  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive salivation
  • Incoordination
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

If such side effects are noticed, urgent medical care is needed. If a dosage adjustment does not improve the symptoms, the veterinarian may suggest an alternative treatment to Ivermectin. Incoordination and dilated pupils are adverse reactions that are particularly important. Since they may be fatal if the dog does not receive immediate care, reporting these side effects is very important.

Overdose Risk of Ivermectin

The risk of overdose is particularly higher when using drugs that contain Ivermectin in doses that are recommended for cattle and horses. Such a drug is Ivomec, which is sometimes used by veterinarians for treating mange in dogs. The dosage may be adjusted, but even tiny errors could lead to toxic reactions.