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Overview of Praziquantel for Dogs and Cats
- Praziquantel, commonly known by the brand names Droncit® or Drontal®, is used for the control and elimination of tapeworm infections in dogs and cats.
- Due to the large number and variety of parasites that can infect pets, the control of parasitic diseases often requires the use of multiple drugs. Most of the drugs commonly used to treat or control of common nematode intestinal worms and heartworms are ineffective in controlling tapeworms (many of which are classified as Cestodes). Praziquantel is a parasite-control drug with strong activity against a number of different tapeworms.
- The most common tapeworms of dogs and cats (Dipylidium) are spread from pet to pet by fleas. Less common forms (Taenia and Echinococcus) are acquired by animals that hunt and ingest the hosts, such as rabbits, which carry these worms.
- Praziquantel is particularly effective against tapeworms. It impairs the function of the parasite’s sucker and stimulates movement of the worm. This dislodges the parasite’s attachment to the intestinal tract and allows it to be eliminated in the feces (stool).
- Praziquantel is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
Brand Names and Other Names of Praziquantel
- This drug is registered for use in humans and animals.
- Human formulations: Biltricide® (Bayer)
- Veterinary formulations: Droncit® (Bayer), Drontal® (Bayer), Drontal Plus® (Bayer) and available in combinations with other anti-parasitic drugs.
Uses of Praziquantel for Dogs and Cats
- The primary use of praziquantel is the control and elimination of tapeworm infections in dogs and cats.
Precautions and Side Effects
- While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, praziquantel can cause side effects in some animals.
- Praziquantel should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
- Praziquantel is not recommended in animals under 4 weeks of age.
- Adverse effects are uncommon; they include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea and lethargy.
- If the injectable form of the drug is used, pain, inflammation and swelling at the site of injection may occur.
How Praziquantel Is Supplied
- Praziquantel is available in 23 mg, 34 mg, 136 mg and 600 mg tablets.
- Praziquantel is also available in 56.8 mg/ml injectable forms.
- Praziquantel is also available in combination with pyrantel pamoate (which controls roundworms and hookworms), and febantel (which controls roundworms, hookworms and whipworms), and milbemycin [Milbemax®] (which controls roundworms, hookworms, some whipworms [dogs] and prevents heartworms).
Dosing Information of Praziquantel for Dogs and Cats
- Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
- Label instructions should be carefully followed as the dosage involves a range of body weights. Approximate doses follow.
- In dogs, the injectable form is given at a dose of 0.2 ml of the 56.8 mg/ml injectable product per 5 pounds (10 kg) once. In dogs, the maximum injectable dose is 3 ml. Tablets are dosed at 2.5 mg per pound (5 mg/kg) once.
- In cats, the maximum injectable dose is 0.6 ml; for tablets, 2.5 mg per pound (5 mg/kg) once is recommended.
- The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian.