Ivermectin treatment for scabies

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Ivermectin treatment for scabies
Dogs and cats can both suffer from scabies-related infections. (pyotr021/iStock/Getty Images)

Vets usually prescribe drugs to treat persistent and resistant cases of scabies-like skin conditions, such as demodectic mange. Ivermectin is one of the strongest drugs typically used to treat several specific parasitic infections and infestations in animals, including mange. If your vet is considering ivermectin, there are some facts that you'll find useful.

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Ivermectin benefits

Ivermectin can be given in a single oral dose, which makes it much easier to administer than other drugs. Ivermectin is often prescribed in veterinary clinic settings because it is easier to distribute. It is also the treatment of choice in cases in which the immune system is suppressed and in cases of crusted scabies.

Ivermectin usage

There may be a follow-up dose prescribed two to three weeks after the initial dose if improvement isn't seen. On rare occasions, a third dose of ivermectin is required. It will always be accompanied by thorough cleaning with borax or a pediculite.

Research support

Various reviews have concluded that a single oral dose of ivermectin is highly effective at treating scabies. Research in 2004 showed that a single dose of ivermectin completely eliminated scabies in 70 per cent of all cases.

Side effects

The possible side effects of ivermectin include nausea, diarrhoea, dizziness, itching, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. More serious but rarer side effects include urinary or bowel problems, confusion, eye redness or pain, confusion, lack of coordination and seizures.


Alternative treatments may be necessary if the animal is pregnant or nursing, so ensure you vet is made aware of these conditions.

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