Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?
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Thread: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mason's Avatar
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    Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    If so, at what dosage? How long is safe to keep the dog on it?

    I ask because, looking at my beagle mix puppy today, his belly seemed to have a yellowish tinge to it. I checked his gums and eyes, and no sign of yellow, but it is bothering me, as he currently is suffering from diarrhea, and nearly threw up tonight.

    I plan on taking him to the vet in the morning. Was just curious if anyone had any input.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    I am not sure of the dose but Ivermectin is only slightly metabolized by the liver and most of it is excreted in a dog's poop. I researched that fact myself as my little foster dog was taking Ivermectin for Demodectic Mange. She also has Cushing's which impacts the liver so I wanted to make sure that we weren't going to do any permanent damage. Yay, it seems to be one of few drugs that has little impact on the liver. I hope the vet can figure out what's wrong with your pup and gets him back on track.

    P.S. My foster dog had to take Ivermectin for several months.
    Last edited by lulusmom; 11-14-2008 at 11:13 PM. Reason: Added P.S.

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    Senior Member Mason's Avatar
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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    My pup does have generalized Demadex, and he's been on Ivermectin/Clavamox for about a month now. His skin has cleared up drastically, but he's started to develop side effects (or so the vet says). His stool has become increasingly more soft, to the point now that it looks like melted chocolate ice cream, and he's been having vomiting episodes once a week. Pepcid seems to stop it for a short while.

    The yellowish color freaked me out, though. Maybe it was just the lighting? I'll have to look at him in the daylight.

    Despite his problems, he's extremely active, getting into everything, and vacuums down his food like its going out of style. It just baffles me.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    What doseage are you giving your pup and when was the last time your vet did a skin scraping? If it's been a while, you may want to have one done. If he's clear of mites, then you can probably discontinue the Ivermectin. The yellow tinge on the belly, diarrhea and vomitting may be unrelated so I'd definitely have him checked out by the vet.

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    Senior Member Mason's Avatar
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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    He weighs about 20 lbs (its been a week since he was last weighed), and gets 0.4cc of 1% Ivomec once a day. The reason is that the mange has been so aggressive, and ridiculously hard to get rid of. My vet said the most he can get is 0.45cc for his weight, although I've been reading that 0.1cc per 10 lbs is the "safe" dosage. That's why I was concerned about the liver. She's assured me its okay.

    It's been a couple weeks since the last skin scraping. She's been keeping him on his meds for so long because this is a relapse of the mange. (He's been on some form of antibiotic/other drug since I adopted him at 10 wks..now 5 months.)

    I took him downstairs for breakfast and his morning potty ritual, and as usual, he scarfed down his food. He also had a solid BM. Now, he's chewing on and humping what my boyfriend and I call his girlfriend (a giant stuffed dog). Definitely not acting sick, but I think I'll still take him in.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Yes ivermectin can cause liver damage in a very very high dose over the long term.... this is definitely something I would talk to your vet about and ask them to double check the dosage that you are giving your dog and definitely make them aware....

    Generally Ivermectin is a very very safe drug but in the larger dose like what you are using to treat the demodex you want to be careful

    s

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Our little Shih tzu weighs about 13 pounds and her dose is 0.2cc. If your dog were a purebreed, I wouldn't be as concerned about overdosing but Collies, shelties, Aussies and Border Collies should not be given Ivermectin. I read that if a dog is mixed, it is best to get a DNA test done to rule out any of these breeds in the lineage. If no DNA is done, then you should watch very careful for any adverse reactions. With your pup's stomach having a yellow tinge, I am very glad to hear that you are going to have it checked out by the vet.

    This darn mange is tough to get the upper hand on. We've had two relapses in the last year but that is probably to be expected to happen more often with an adult dog with a compromised immune system. I would think that puppies immune system eventually gets kickstarted and will generate the antibodies in the blood necessary to fight off any parasites. I hope that your boy is fast approaching that point. Good luck to you both.

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    Senior Member Mason's Avatar
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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Thank you guys for your input. As it turns out, he wasn't jaundiced. It was a mixture of the yellow lighting inside, and his orangey-yellow spots growing back in. I'm just not used to seeing him fuzzy all over.

    The vet said that in order for the Ivermectin to be toxic to him, it would have to be nearly double what he's currently getting. I would also see the neurological effects that are seen in collies/sheepdogs. The occasional vomiting and diarrhea are indeed side effects of the medication. Because he's been on it so long, its begun to irritate his GI tract. His intestinal flora is also suffering because he's been on antibiotics for an extended period of time. Not to mention, it seems he also has a food allergy. Hopefully he can go off the meds soon, so his body can readjust.

    My poor train wreck of a puppy.

    Here he is before the relapse of the mange:


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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Oh my gosh, he is absolutely adorable and who wouldn't want to snatch him up and hug him tight. Train wreck? lol He's just getting the bad stuff out of the way while he's young and once he gets rid of those pesky mites once and for all, it'll be smooth sailing.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Right! What a darling pup!

    Hope you've seen a turn-around by now. My collie has demodectic mange, and -- get this -- the vet suggested putting her on "increasing doses of Ivermectin. We see how much the dog can tolerate, and give her antibiotics too."

    I gently asked, "Isn't Ivermectin toxic to collies?"

    He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look and said he didn't think so. I declined his offer to treat the mange that way and said I'd take care of it my own way. Promeris is doing a good job without any side effects.

    I am also working to strengthen her immune system with some natural, herbal treatments. That is working too.

    Next time I brought her in, I gave the vet an article from the University of Washington's Veterinary School website (check it out) regarding Collie Sensitivity and a list of drugs which should not be given to collies. Ivermectin was on it.

    He was not pleased. I was as diplomatic as can be, but frankly was quite upset that he would have done something in ignorance that would have harmed my dog. Only because I did my own research were we able to circumvent a tragedy.

    Needless to say, I got off on the wrong foot with this guy. He was icily polite after that. I don't trust him and he knows it. Furthermore, I gave him information he should have known...and he's the medical professional.

    Hmmmph!

    All I have to say is: be careful and do your own research. This forum is a great place to get help and resources.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    AmyLouise, GOOD FOR YOU!!! Having three special needs dogs, I've been through my share of vets and learned a long time ago that if a vet gets indignant with an educated pet owner, then it's time to move on. My vet and specialist appreciate that I take an active part in my dogs' care. Heck, I've made them draw a diagram or slow down while I was taking notes so that I understand what they are telling me. I do my own research on any drug that is prescribed for my dogs before dosing to make sure that I know that it is safe to take with any of the other meds they are on and that I know what side effects to watch for. You cannot assume that your vet is going to take the time to give you all the poop on pills, topicals, etc. I can honestly say that I am as anal as they come when it comes to my furkids and I'm proud to call myself a vet's worst nightmare.

    We are the only voice are dogs have and we can't speak for them if we don't take the time to educate ourselves. You are a perfect example of why nobody should ever think that all vets are created equal. Had you placed blind faith in your vet, your dog may not be here today. YOU ROCK!!

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    Senior Member Mason's Avatar
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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Wow. That honestly scares me; that a vet could not know something as simple as "do not give a collie Ivermectin." I wouldn't go back to the guy. The vet i take my dog to has only been practicing for about two years now, and I've done follow up research on everything she's recommended/prescribed, as well as talked to other vets. So far so good. For being new to the game, she seems to know what she's doing.

    Mason has progressed well. He has most of his hair back, save for a bit of thinning on his hind legs. His last skin scrape was mite free, so he only has two more weeks of the Ivermectin. His lymph nodes are also normal for the first time in 3 months, and he's growing like a weed.

    He is currently on Z/D gold to test for food allergies, as he's been breaking out in hives, but the biggest obstacle has passed.

    I hope things are going well for you, AmyLouise! Keep an eye on that vet.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Thanks!

    I am in a situation where I signed up for the one-year health plan, so I'm basically screwed until the year runs out. What I can do is to ask for one of the other doctors. There is a young gal, fresh out of college, and I told my husband I think she may be more receptive and/or more knowledgeable than the 50-something guy who didn't know Ivermectin was toxic to collies!

    Sheesh!!! How sTuPiD can you get??? I was so upset after the first and second meetings with this "Dr Joe" that I could hardly speak. And he had the nerve to act offended with me for giving him that life-saving information!!!

    There are not a lot of collies here in Southern Oregon. We had to go out of state to get ours. But she is such a wonderful dog!!!!!

    I am a collie-Mom for life, now!

    Amy

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    You can have your dog tested to see if s/he has the MDR1 mutation (or just avoid the drugs that they would be sensitive to). I was shocked that Allie's previous owners had her on an ivermectin based heartworm medicine (she is part collie). Luckily she obviously doesn't have the MDR1 mutation. I don't think a lot of people really know about it, but you would think vets would.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    There are some collies out there that do get heartworm based heartworm meds.

    If it's under a certain dosage (veerrry tiny, can't remember the math), it can be used for collies. (need to try to find the info I found on it)

    Then there are some who cannot take any Ivomec, period.
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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    AmyLouise good for you. I would certainly ask for the other Vet, and if you have to go elsewhere and get any trouble over your health plan, report the guy to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine. Shame on him for now knowing that since it was a widespread report. One of my Vet's is in his 70's and keeps up on everything so I guess I'm pretty lucky.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    I started giving heartguard (ivermectin) heart worm chews to April when I 1st heard about them, until that time I was giving her daily tabs from the supermarket. She had been on heartguard for approx 7 yrs without any side effects. Then in about 01/02 I was buying heartworm tabs for the dogs at a pet expo & was asked what breeds they were. I told her & she told me that borders/collies shouldn't have ivermectin so I switched her over to pro heart.
    Now that I have my new border, the breeder gave me a sample of heartguard plus when I adopted her, that she was given by her vet when the litter went in for their vac's. When I took Tilba to my vet for her puppy check-up I quieried her about giving the heartguard plus. The vet went & checked with another vet/research & told me they would be safe to give Tilba. She has had them once a mth since then with no ill effects.
    I think from next months dose I will switch her over to ProHeart & give the rest of the heartguard to my son's mixed breed dog to be on the safe side.

    Just remembered a little story that happened Christmas 1990 when visiting oh's cousins. They had an old border collie & a young X collie. While they were giving them the heartguard chews the young dog ate both of the chews. They asked a friend (vet) if they would do any harm. They were assured the young dog would be ok. She lived another 16 yrs.
    Last edited by DogsforMe; 12-06-2008 at 09:46 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Most sources I've found say that most Collies should be fine with the standard heartworm prevention dose (or even double that). It's the much larger doses used for treating Demodex or other problems that can be trouble. And evidently a small overdose of Ivermectin isn't too bad....just some uncoordination and drooling, but no long-term damage.

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Willowy, that is what I have read too. The dosage in monthly heartgard is not harmful -- just the high doses.

    My purebred collie has been tested, and she is MM for MDR1 -- therefore I need to be extremely careful for her.

    We had her spayed, as we don't intend to breed her. Therefore it didn't really matter to me that she was MM. In the future, if I get another collie that I intend to breed, I will certainly pay more for an NN.

    I agree that Dr Joe is bad news. We'll see what the young gal is like. I have met her once, when I took our other dog in for something. I don't know about reporting him...I'll consider it.

    Think I will take the opportunity to move her to a different (non-Ivermectin) heart worm med when the time comes to replace it. Bethany seems to do just fine with the Heartgard, but I want to avoid ivermectin wherever I can.

    Thank you ALL for your good advice. I hope others will make the effort with collies and mixed collie-type breeds to avoid Ivermectin and research this. It is worth it for your dog.

    She is on Promeris for flea and tick medication. That I would recommend.


    Amy (Bethany's devoted Mom)

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    Re: Can Ivermectin Cause Liver Damage?

    Move to Interceptor. That's the best for collies if you want to totally avoid Ivomec altogether.

    When I do have to resort to nasy chemicles for fleas and ticks, I use Bio-Spot. It works like a charm for my gang, both rough and smooth alike.
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