Overview of Milbemycin/Praziquantel for Canines and Felines
- Parasitic infections are common in dogs and cats and include external parasites (fleas, ticks, mites) and internal parasites (intestinal worms, lungworms, and heartworms).
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) (Novartis Animal Health) is a combination of milbemycin oxime and praziquantel. These ingredients act as a parasite control drug effective in controlling or preventing several of the most common parasitic diseases of dogs and cats. Milbemax® is commonly used to prevent heartworms and control disease caused by roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms in dogs and cats, and whipworms in dogs.
- Milbemycin acts by disrupting nerve transmission within the parasite leading to death of the parasite. Praziquantel is effective against tapeworms. It impairs the function of the parasite’s sucker and stimulates movement of the worm. These actions cause dislodgement of the parasite’s attachment to the intestinal tract and allows it to be eliminated in the feces (stool).
- Milbemax® is safe in collie breeds and collie mixed breeds.
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
Brand Names and Other Names of Milbemycin/Praziquante
- This drug is registered for use in dogs and cats only.
- Human formulations: None
- Veterinary formulations: Milbemax® (Novartis Animal Health)
Uses of Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) for Dogs and Cats
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) is used to control hookworm, roundworm, certain whipworm, and tapeworm infections in dogs and cats. The drug is highly effective in the prevention of canine heartworm disease and feline heartworm disease.
- Veterinarians may use Milbemax® in an extra-label manner to treat and control demodectic mange infections.
- Milbemycin is a potent microfilariacidal drug, meaning it can kill the microscopic offspring of heartworms. Microfilaria circulate in the blood of infected dogs and are typically treated after killing the adult heartworm parasite with another drug (melarsamine). Milbemycin is one of the drugs veterinarians use to kill the microfilaria, as there are no drugs yet approved for this purpose by the FDA. This represents another extra-label use of this drug.
Precautions and Side Effects
- While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) may cause side effects in some animals.
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
- Animals should be tested for heartworm infection before beginning prevention with Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®).
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) should not be used in puppies under 2 weeks of age or kittens under 6 weeks of age. It should also not be used in dogs or cats weighing less than 1 pound.
- Few adverse effects have been reported.
- There have been a few unconfirmed reports of seizures and other nervous system effects following administration of Milbemax®.
- Following extra-label treatment with Milbemax® to kill heartworm microfilaria, dogs should be carefully observed for shock-like reactions. This entails hospitalizing dogs for the day of treatment so that supportive care can be administered, if needed. The same shock-like reactions can be observed if Milbemax® is administered as a heartworm preventative to a dog or cat with a mature heartworm infestation.
How Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) Is Supplied
Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) is available in two tablet sizes for each dogs and cats.
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) for dogs contains 12.5 mg of milbemycin oxime and 125 mg praziquantel.
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) for small dogs and puppies contains 2.5 mg of milbemycin oxime and 25 mg praziquantel.For cats:
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) for cats contains 16 mg of milbemycin oxime and 40 mg praziquantel.
- Milbemycin/Praziquantel (Milbemax®) for small cats and kittens contains 4 mg of milbemycin oxime and 10 mg praziquantel.
Dosing Information of Milbemax® for Dogs and Cats
- Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
- It is recommended that the tablets be given with food.For Dogs:
- The dosage for dogs weighing 0.5 kg to 1 kg (1 to 2.2 pounds), is ½ tablet of the small-dog-and-puppy sized pill.
- For small dogs or puppies weighing 1 to 5 kg (2.2 – 11 pounds), the dose is 1 tablet of the small dog and puppy size.
- For dogs weighing 5 to 10 kg (11 to 22 pounds), the dosage is ½ tablet of the larger dog size of pill.
- For dogs weighing 10 to 25 kg (22 to 55 pounds), the dosage is 1 tablet of the larger dog size of pill.
- For dogs weighing 25 to 50 kg (55 pounds to 110 pounds), the dosage is 2 tablets of the larger dog size of pills.For Cats:
- For small cats and kittens weighing 0.5 kg to 1 kg (1 to 2.2 pounds), the dose is ½ tablet of the smaller cat-and-kitten size of pill.
- For cats weighing 1 to 2 kg (2.2 – 4.4 pounds), the dose is 1 tablet of the smaller cat-and-kitten size of pill.
- For larger cats weighing 2 to 4 kg (4.4 to 8.8 pounds), the dosage is ½ tablet of the larger size of cat pill.
- For cats weighing 4 to 8 kg (8.8 to 17.6 pounds), the dosage is 1 tablet of the larger size of cat pill.
- Be certain to give the medicine as directed. Even if your pet appears better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent resurgence. Monthly dosing is generally recommended for prevention of heartworm disease.