Worming Dogs from the June 2014 issue of Tuskers Magazine - by Ed Barnes
Worming dogs these days can be quite a task with all the options we have and all the advise all over the internet, some of it is good and some of it is just plain wrong. Now I aint a vet, and I don't know it all, so take what I say as a broad reference and do your own research, and if you have a good country vet that will shoot straight with you and not just try to sell you overpriced meds with the same active ingredients as off label stuff you can pick up at a feed store, talk to your veterinarian.
As a general rule, there is no wormer out there that gets them all. For this reason it is always a good idea to vary your wormers from month to month. This broadens the spectrum of parasites that you are killing, but also offsets the side effects, as well as cutting down the chances of parasites becoming resistant to the chemicals we are putting in our dogs. And they are chemicals, so follow the dosages! Good wormers that are safe when used right kill dogs all the time when used in doses too large.
I am going to do my best to break down some of the most popular wormers that dog men are using and let you know what I know about them.
The most popular wormer used where I live seems to be Safe-guard horse wormer. Safe-guard, or Panacur both use the same active ingredient, -Fenbendazole. It is effective in treating round worms, hook worms, tape worms, whip worms, pin worms, and giardia. I used Safe-guard for many years, and never saw any ill-effects, although I did hear from time to time of dogs dying from it. I chalked it up to someone giving a dog too much, as it was easy to do if you squirted from the tube straight to the dogs mouth. I was talking about worming with my vet one day and he said something I had never thought of. He said, "Ed, you are assuming that the fenbendazole is evenly mixed in the tube! It is not!" I never used a horse tube to worm a dog again. I am not saying you can't, but to me, the risk is too high, even if low.
Ivomec, probably runs a close second in popularity around here in cattle country. The active ingredient in Ivomec is ivermectin. Ivomec injectable is given orally, DO NOT USE Ivomec Plus, it also has a drug called clorsulon in it to kill liver flukes in cattle and it has been known to kill dogs. Ivomec kills hook worms, tape worms, whip worms, round worms, and heart worms. So it gets everything Safe-guard gets plus heart worms. Now that last part is very important! If you switch over to Ivomec, or an Ivermectin based wormer you need to be sure that your dog doesn't have heart worms. Heart worms are in the arteries that go to the heart, if you kill them they can block the heart up and kill a dog. This doesn't always happen, but it is a possibility. Think of it as a log jam in a river, they don't always jam up, but it's likely. It should also be noted that Ivermectin is not recommended for use in Collies, Australian Shepherds, Shelties, German Shepherds and Long Haired Whippets, for whatever reason, shepherd dogs don't react well with Ivermectin.
I wanted to stay away from dosage numbers in this article, just so no one fire bombs my house if a dog dies, but there is so much bad information out there on Ivermectin that I think I have to. Ivermectin is powerful stuff! Correct dosage is a MUST. Treat dogs with 1/10 a cc per 10 pounds of weight. 1/10! Not to be confused with 1cc! So a 50 pound dog gets .5 cc's, POINT 5! 5cc's will likely shut your dogs kidneys down and kill him. After pulling the correct dose in a syringe, I fill the remainder of it with water, its hot.
Another popular off-label wormer used is Valbazen, active ingredient - Albendazole. Albendazole has been around for years, although seems to have come back around here lately. It covers tape worms, whip worms, round worms, hook worms, coccidia, and giardia. Valbazen is given orally,It is usually given three days in a row and is pretty safe and effective. I have used it for a few years and have had no health issues, although I have heard of it causing some sort of bone marrow problem and anemia. I generally use it only one every three months though.
Now we are going to get a little new agey, hippy-ish, so throw on a tie-dye shirt and put on a CD of ocean sounds and flutes. I have been using Diatomaceous Earth, or D.E. for about the past year. D.E. is basically ground up shells, no chemicals at all. D.E. doesn't poison parasites like all the wormers mention before, it mechanically kills them. D.E. is a fine powder, about like flour, but if you looked at it through a microscope it has sharp jagged spikes all over each grain. When it travels through the digestive system it scratches the parasite and causes them to de-hydrate. D.E. is safe on puppies and it also can be used to treat external parasites like fleas and ticks.
Here is what I do, and it seems to work for me, but might not work for everyone. I use Ivomec every other month thru mosquito season, switched off with Valbazen each month and I use D.E. about every two weeks. I've never trusted hippies so I just use it as a bonus, lol. It can't hurt. In winter months when there are no mosquitos I hold off the Ivomec, unless I see a sever worm problem, and just worm with Valbazen every other month.
Worming dogs is about managing risks and rewards, we each have to weigh the options and do a bit of homework.