By Karen A. Soukiasian
Millions of dog owners are unaware their puppy or dog may be predisposed to Ivermectin Toxicity, because of their dog’s breed. Fact is, in order to make informed decisions; when applicable, veterinarians should tell owners that their dog’s breed might be at risk, before certain medications or treatments are prescribed.
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is a broad based anti-parasite medication, favored by veterinarians and commonly used for treatments of ear mites, lice, heartworm, mange and parasitic intestinal worms. It is a principal ingredient found in several primary heartworm preventative treatments prescribed by veterinarians.
Note: Horse owners also commonly use Ivermectin to worm their horses. They should be especially cautious, when using the medication if their dogs are present.
What Is Ivermectin Toxicity?
It is a lethal accumulation of the medication in the brain of dogs, with the MRD-1 gene mutation. Certain breeds with this mutation are powerless to safely pass the medication through their system. Toxicity can occur from a single injection or accumulation of dosages.
What Breeds Are Most At Risk?
It is known herding breeds and dogs mixed with herding breeds, as well as any breed of puppy or young dog that has suffered head trauma or other neurological system diseases are at high risk.
Owners of pedigree and/or breeds mixed with: Australian Shepherd, Miniature Australian Shepherd, Collie, German Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Shetland Sheepdog, Long-haired Whippet, McNab, Skye Terrier, and Silken Windhound, with the MRD-1 gene mutation, need to be especially cautious of certain medications and combinations of medications.
What Symptoms Should You Watch For?
The most common symptoms of Ivermectin Toxicity appear between 4-96 hours after dogs are ministered with Ivermectin. They include: lethargy, drooling, vomiting, depression, lack of appetite, unpredictable mood changes, disorientation, inability to stand, seizures, tremors, stupor, respiratory distress, dilation of pupils, blindness, slowed heart beat, coma and death.
What Is The Treatment For Ivermectin Toxicity?
Unfortunately, Ivermectin toxicity cannot be reversed. There is no cure! Currently, all that can be done is to make your dog comfortable, by treating the symptoms.
How Can You Prevent Ivermectin Toxicity?
By having your dog tested for the MRD-1 gene mutation, either by blood test or cheek swab test, you can find out if your dog might be at risk. Your veterinarian can perform the blood test. Or, you can obtain a cheek swab test kit from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Should your dog test positive, other medications you should avoid are: Butorphanol, Acepromazine, Doxorubicin, Selamectin, Milbemycin, Loperamide, Vinblastine, Vincristine and Moxidectin.
Be aware, toxicity also increases when Ivermectin is used in combination with medications such as: Amitraz, Mitiban dips and certain tick collars.
Bottom line: To be on the safe side, if your dog is a herding breed, or if you suspect your dog may be mixed with a herding breed, take the necessary precautions. Ask questions. Test your dog for the mutated gene. Make informed decisions. It could prevent unnecessary suffering and heartbreak for you, and your pet.
Follow Karen A. Soukiasian on Facebook