Praziquantel overdose in dogs

Written by rena sherwood
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Praziquantel overdose in dogs
Puppies under four weeks old should never be given praziquantel (Black puppy image by zimous from Fotolia.com)

Praziquantel is the active ingredient in the brands Droncit and Drontal. These medications are given to dogs in order to kill internal parasites such as tapeworm and lung fluke. Praziquantel can kill adult and juvenile worms, but not their eggs, according to "The Pill Book Guide to Medication For Your Dog and Cat." Although the chances for an overdose are rare in dogs, it is possible, especially for young or weak dogs.

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Dosage

The normal dosage for praziquantel in dogs differs if the dog is getting pills or an injectable liquid. For pills, the dosage is 2.5 mg for every pound of the dog or 5 mg for every kilogram the dog weighs. But for the injectable form, the normal dosage is a range from 0.2 ml to 3 ml for every 2.27kg. or 10 kg that the dog weighs.

Amount

In order for an adult dog to begin showing the signs of an overdose, it needs to take over 20 times the normal dose according to "The Pill Book Guide to Medication For Your Dog and Cat." Although this is a large amount, any dog starting on praziquantel should be carefully monitored just in case of an accident or an allergy to the drug. Dogs and puppies getting the injectable form are more likely to have an overdose than those taking tablets.

Signs

Signs of praziquantel overdose in dogs include vomiting, unusually heavy drooling, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, coordination problems and sudden loss of energy. This should be treated as a medical emergency because death can happen after an overdose. If a vet cannot be reached, then contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Misconception

The pill form of praziquantel can upset some dog's stomachs, but does not mean they have been overdosed. The dog would need to be vomiting and have any other symptoms for it to be an overdose. Dogs will often vomit up the mostly undigested tablet bits if praziquantel makes them nauseated. To avoid this, break up the tablet and mix with food.

Warning

Praziquantel should never be given to puppies under one month old because of the chance of overdosing. Praziquantel should also not be given to dogs or puppies over one month old that have liver or kidney problems because they may be unable to absorb the medication properly. Dogs with other severe illnesses such as cancer or heartworm disease may not be able to tolerate praziquantel. Only give this dewormer under the advice of a veterinarian.

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