The Use of Albendazole in Dogs

By Lydia Janssen

Albendazole is part of the family benzimidazole, the type of medication most commonly used to treat parasitic worms in domestic animals. In dogs, this medication also has be used for certain types of infection, but there is some controversy about whether this kind of treatment is safe. Consult your veterinarian if you think your dog might have a parasitic infection.

Conditions Albendazole Can Treat

Albendazole is typically used to treat serious parasitic infections in dogs. Paragonimus kellicotti, a type of fluke that can cause cysts in your dog's lungs, is one potential candidate for albendazole treatment. Bladder worms, Capillaria plica, as well as Filaroides and Giardia infections may respond well to this type of treatment. There is some concern, however, that albendazole may suppress bone marrow production, leading many vets to be cautious about prescribing it.

Administration of Albendazole

Your veterinarian may suggest albendazole for your dog in a number of different forms, including oral suspensions, capsules or a transdermal shot. Unfortunately, albendazole processes quickly in dogs, leaving their system in less than 12 hours. This means higher doses are often necessary to be effective, which may increase the risk of side effects. It is crucial to use the type and dosage of albendazole recommended by your veterinarian, since overdose can be toxic.

Potential Side Effects

The most serious potential side effect of this treatment is damage to the bone marrow, which can reduce temporarily the number of available white and red blood cells. Once your dog stops taking albendazole, the bone marrow will regenerate, but it can cause problems during the course of the treatment. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy or convulsions, it may indicate an overdose of albendazole. Consult your veterinarian immediately.

Who Should Not Use Albendazole

Since albendazole is processed largely by the liver, it should not be used in dogs who have any type of liver condition. It should not be used in pregnant animals, since it can cause low birth weight or cleft palates in the puppies. Immunocompromised animals should avoid albendazole, as it can lower the number of white blood cells. Due to the risk of toxicity, you should never give your dog albendazole without the approval and supervision of a veterinarian.