Albendazole for Dogs - Dosage, Uses and Side Effects
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Albendazole is a product with an antiparasitic effect, meaning it can be used to treat various parasites which can infest dogs. First introduced in the 1970s, it is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. Despite this fact, it is not widely used in all markets. This appears to be changing as it is becoming more common in veterinary use. Whether it is a deworming drug used by your veterinarian will depend on various factors as there are other antiparasitic drugs which may be used.
At AnimalWised, we look at albendazole for dogs. Specifically, we look at the uses, dosage and side effects of the drug, as well as any contraindications which may prevent use in your dog.
What is albendazole for dogs?
Albendazole is an active principle that belongs to the class of drugs known as benzimidazoles. It shares this group with other better-known antiparasitic products such as praziquantel and fenbendazole. These types of products have been administered as antiparasitic drugs for decades. Specifically, their use has been recorded since 1960, although albendazole began to spread somewhat later, around 1975.
Since these types of antiparasitic drug have been on the market, other benzimidazoles have been developed which are increasingly effective, safe and specific to certain parasites. The first to be developed focused their action on adults and larvae of worms located in the gastrointestinal tract. Benzimidazoles evolved and managed to broaden their spectrum of use and pass from the intestines to the blood, as happens with albendazole.
Albendazole is an anthelmintic, meaning it is used to treat parasitic worms. Since it can pass into the blood, it can kill worms which are lodged outside of the intestine after being ingested orally. This includes lungworm and heartworm, as well as those affecting other organs such as the liver. Since it can work on very small pathogenic agents, it is also an antiprotozoal drug.
The specific action of albendazole for dogs is its ability to affect the enzymes of parasites. By preventing the parasites' digestive enzymes from working, they cannot get hold of the glucose necessary for their survival. This results in the death of the parasite.
Learn more with our general guide to parasites in dogs.
Uses of albendazole for dogs
As stated above, albendazole is an anthelmintic which are used to treat parasitic worms in dogs. Examples of types of parasitic worms include nematodes, cestodes (tapeworms), trematodes and giardia. Since these are types of internal parasites in dogs, albendazole is used for internal deworming. Although albendazole has various used in veterinary medicine, it is often more common in livestock than companion animals such as dogs and cats.
Albendazole for dogs will act on the parasites that are currently in the gastrointestinal tract, but it has no residual effect. This means that it does not prevent new infestations and it cannot be used as a preventive dewormer.
Although adult dogs do not always show symptoms of gastrointestinal parasites, puppies are more likely to do so, We can often see vomiting and/or diarrhea in dogs with different types of internal parasites. The long-term effects of these infestations can include stunted growth, inability to absorb nutrients, anemia and many others.
If we suspect a parasite infestation in our dog, we need to take them to a veterinarian. Do not give albendazole to your dog without veterinary prescription. They will need to determine that the problem is an infestation, determine the type of parasite responsible and prescribe the appropriate drug for the purpose. This drug may or may not be albendazole.
Is albendazole commonly used for dogs?
As we mentioned, there are currently other drugs designed to combat the same parasites as albendazole, but with a higher percentage of success and a better composition. Although albendazole may be useful for some ailments, it may not be the best. For example, albendazole has been shown to be poor treatment for giardia with only one dose, but is highly effective after four doses. Your veterinarian may prescribe a drug which only needs one administration.
Learn more with our guide to the most common intestinal parasites in dogs.
Albendazole dosage for dogs
It is recommended that adult dogs be dewormed internally every 3-4 months and always before any vaccinations are administered. During the first months of life, internal deworming must be more frequent. It is advisable to start at two weeks of age and repeat it every 15 days until the vaccination schedule is complete. Afterwards, puppies can be dewormed every 3-4 months like adults. For more details, do not miss the article in which we explain how often we should deworm a dog.
It is possible to give albendazole to puppies, but it should always be the veterinarian who prescribes the most suitable product. For an effective and safe dose, the weight of the dog must be known. There are albendazole products marketed specifically for dogs. It is administered orally and can be found both in tablets and oral solution. It is advisable to give albendazole to dogs with food.
The dose of albendazole for dogs will depend on various factors, including:
- Dog weight
- Type of parasite
- Extent of infestation
- General health of dog
Such factors will determine the amount of albendazole to be administered. Specifically, whether it will require a single dose or a prolonged administration. Below we provide examples of albendazole does for certain parasites:
- Toxocara canis: 50 mg per kg of weight per day administered for three days in a row.
- Giardia spp.: 25 mg per kg of weight in two daily doses for four days.
These are general recommendations and may be affected by other factors. In view of these data, the importance of going to the veterinarian to give an effective dose of albendazole is paramount.
Recommendations for giving albendazole to a dog
When administering this antiparasitic, its presentation must be taken into account. Albendazole oral suspension form should be administered directly into the dog's mouth. To do this, you will have to follow these instructions:
- Fill the syringe with the amount indicated for your dog.
- Insert the syringe through one of the sides of their mouth just behind the fang and deposit the liquid little by little. You may need someone to help you restrain the dog.
- Reward your dog when they have ingested all the product so they associate this experience with positive stimuli.
If the albendazole for dogs is in oral tablet form, you will have to follow these steps:
- Insert the pill into some wet food (canned or homemade).
- Offer your dog the food with the tablet inside and watch them eat to make sure he doesn't expel the product.
- If you cannot get them to swallow the tablet, you should crush it and mix it in this way with food or dilute it in water.
Side effects of albendazole for dogs
Properly used, albendazole for dogs offers great safety in its use. It causes few side effects, but some precautions must always be taken into account. Some of these side effects include decreased appetite or even anemia, although this is rare.
As in most antiparasitic products, it is possible to observe adverse effects after administration such as vomiting or diarrhea, as well as weakness and lethargy in the dog.
Contraindications of albendazole for dogs
It is not advisable to give albendazole to puppies less than two weeks old or to pregnant bitches. This is because it could harm the fetuses or cause abortion. The veterinarian will also have to assess its use in dogs with liver disease.
If any symptoms of allergy to the product are observed, it is necessary to go immediately to the vet to confirm the reaction. Once the reaction is treated, the vet will prescribe an alternative antiparasitic to treat the infestation.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to Albendazole for Dogs - Dosage, Uses and Side Effects, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.
1. Barr, S. C., Bowman, D. D., Heller, R. L., & Erb, H. N. (1993). Efficacy of albendazole against giardiasis in dogs. American journal of veterinary research, 54(6), 926–928.
- Look, Guadalupe. (2012). Importance and clinical management of giardiasis in the small animal clinic . Veterinary Portal.