Amitraz is a pesticide used to combat many kinds of insects, but its main purpose when used on dogs is the prevention of ticks. Amitraz is available in several forms, the most common include being used in tick collars, as an additive in mite dips (baths), and as an additive in flea and tick topical medication, such as Promeris. Amitraz is manufactured under a wide variety of trade names, and is not limited to one single manufacturer or distributor.
The amount of Amitraz is predetermined by the animal's bodyweight. Tick collars and topical medications are prepackaged so there is no confusion about how much product to use. Mite and flea dip medications containing Amitraz with have a dosing chart on the side of the bottle, and the amount used will correspond to the size of the animal, as well as the size of the dip tank.
Duration of Treatment
Tick collars containing Amitraz are normally used for three months. Topical medications are applied every month, and dips using Amitraz are given on an as needed basis. Dips can be harsh on the animal, and should not be used on a regular basis.
Common Side Effects
The most commonly reported side effects of Amitraz include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea and dry skin.
More Serious Side Effects
Amitraz toxicity can be more likely to occur if the animal is particularly sensitive to the drug, and some allergic reactions can be severe. Some more serious side effects seen include lowered heart rate, decreased blood pressure, seizures, ataxia (lack of coordination), and in some instances death has occurred. If any of these reactions are observed, call your veterinarian immediately.
Side Effects on Diabetics
Amitraz can cause blood glucose levels to increase, and should be used carefully in a patient who is diabetic. This also includes the pet owner giving the medication. Care should be taken not to get any Amitraz on skin, as it will be readily absorbed, and the same blood glucose spike can occur.
Side Effects on Cats
Amitraz should never be given to cats. It is extremely toxic to cats, and should be not used around them. Dogs wearing tick collars containing Amitraz should stay outside, or have limited contact with any household cats. Care should also be taken to ensure that cats do not come into contact or ingest any topical products containing Amitraz. If this does occur, call your veterinarian immediately and have the cat treated.
Side Effects on Humans
Rubber or latex gloves should be worn when working with any product containing Amitraz. As mentioned before, it can have adverse effects on diabetics by increasing blood glucose levels. Amitraz can also effect anyone taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) antidepressants. Any contact with skin should be avoided, and fumes inhaled during application should be limited. Topical medications and dips (baths) containing Amitraz should always be used in a well ventilated area.
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