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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16696
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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My 96lb Shepard ate 6 heart worm pills. Will she be ok?

Customer Question

My 96lb Shepard ate 6 heart worm pills. Will she be ok?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my apologies that you did not receive a prompt response, that is likely because your question was waiting for a response from your requested expert that is not online at the present time.
My name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian, I'd be happy to help.
You don't say which heartworm prevention your pup ingested. However in most cases heartworm prevention medications have a very wide safety margin. Most monthly heartworm preventions only need to be given at a low dose to kill that particular stage of heartworm. These medications can often be given at doses several times higher than that prescribed to kill heartworms to treat other parasites like sarcoptic or demodectic mange. That means even if she accidentally ingested several pills she would most likely suffer no ill effects.
For example Heartgard or any of the other heartworm preventions that contain ivermectin are fairly safe medications.
The dose for heartworm prevention is 6 to 12 mcg per kilogram of body weight but we can use as much as 400 to 600 mcg per kilogram of body weight for other conditions such as demodectic mange. That means she could eat as much as 50X her normal heartworm dose and still be fine, especially because her breed is not an ivermectin (the active ingredient in Heartgard) sensitive breed. Sensitive breeds include those in the collie family.
If your pup ingested Heartgard Plus that contains pyrantel as well. This is a worm medication used to treat hookworms and roundworms. If she ate 6 of the large tablets (228mg per tablet of Pyrantel) then she received 1368mg of pyrantel. Likely at least a double dose of that. Fortunately that is a fairly safe medication and doses as high as 7 times the normal dose caused no long term toxicity problems. If anything you may see some nausea or diarrhea for the next day or two but that should be it.
If she seems nauseous or has loose tools to help feed a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger (or white chicken) and 2/3 boiled white rice in small meals several times a day for the next 2 to 3 days, then start mixing in her regular food slowly, converting her back over 5 to 7 days.
In short I think she will be fine other than some very mild stomach upset.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hi Mike,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Nova. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara