Safety of Moxidectin
Depending upon the specific ingredients, products used for the treatment and/or control of external and/or internal parasites must be approved either by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Manufacturers of these products must submit extensive preclinical and clinical data supporting the safety and efficacy of these treatments. The federal regulatory agencies extensively evaluate the data, weighing the benefits vs. risks, before approving a treatment. The regulatory agency's role does not end at approval, they continue to monitor the safety of the treatment the entire time it is on the market.
Numerous clinical studies have been conducted, supporting the claim that when used as directed, treatments with moxidectin are safe and effective. These studies have been specifically conducted in large populations of dogs, cats, horses, and cattle. However, before using a treatment with moxidectin for your dog or cat, there are a few things you should discuss with your veterinarian.
- Have your dog tested for heartworm disease
- Consider having your cat tested for heartworm disease
- For herding breed dog owners – understand avermectin sensitivity
- Discuss the dosing and how to apply the treatment
Have your dog tested for heartworm disease
Before being placed on heartworm preventative treatment, your dog should be tested for pre-existing heartworm infections. If your dog is infected with heartworms, your veterinarian will prescribe a treatment for eliminating the heartworm infection.
Consider having your cat tested for heartworm disease
At the discretion of the veterinarian, you are encouraged to have cats at least six months of age tested for heartworm disease before placing them on a prevention medication.
For herding breed dog owners -- understand avermectin sensitivity
A small percentage of some herding breed dogs (i.e., collies) may have a mutation in their MDR1 gene that can result in higher levels of certain drugs crossing the blood-brain barrier into the pet’s central nervous system. This condition applies, in theory, to avermectins, the treatment most commonly used for the prevention of heartworm disease. If an avermectin-sensitive dog were to inappropriately orally receive a high level of an avermectin such as moxidectin, an adverse reaction could result, but when administered as directed, avermectins are safe for avermectin-sensitive dogs even at levels greater than their prescribed dosages.
If your dog is avermectin sensitive, talk to your veterinarian about your heartworm disease preventative options. For a list of drugs and to learn about an avermectin sensitivity test now available, go to www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-VCPL/#Drugs.
Discuss the dosing and how to apply the treatment
Before you give your pet any type of treatment, always read the label. Talk to your veterinarian about how to apply the treatment and what dosage to give. It's important that you give the exact dose your veterinarian recommends and apply it as it is stated on the label. If you are ever unsure, ask your veterinarian to show you how to apply the treatment.
Treatments often come in many forms, such as oral and topical. Talk to your veterinarian about which application is best for your pet and most convenient for you.