When it comes to ensuring the health of our pet companions, routine deworming is a critical component. There are many medications available that safeguard against parasites, but fenbendazole is one of the most trusted and widely used by veterinarians. This article explores the benefits of fenbendazole, its mechanism of action, and how it differs from other antiparasitic drugs.
Fenbendazole is a member of the benzimidizole family of antiparasitic drugs and is quite broad in its activity. It is effective against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms (including the difficult to treat whipworms called strongyles and strongyloides), certain tapeworms, lungworms (including Dipylidium caninum), Giardia, and flukes. In addition, fenbendazole is also an effective immunomodulator and may help protect the animal against certain diseases.
It works by blocking the ability of a parasite to produce energy, thus starving and killing it. It also prevents the production of the parasite’s eggs and larvae. In most animals, fenbendazole is well tolerated and side effects are rare, although nausea, salivation and vomiting can occur. In some dogs and cats, the medication can cause an allergic reaction which can be fatal in severe cases. If this occurs, seek veterinary care immediately.
Fenbendazole has been studied as a potential cancer drug and has shown some anticancer activity. Its mode of action is similar to that of hypoxia-selective nitroheterocyclic cytotoxins and radiosensitizers, and it inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species in cells. It does not, however, show a significant effect on the radiation response of hypoxic tumors.
A recent experiment examining the effect of a three-injection fenbendazole regimen on the growth of locally irradiated EMT6 tumors indicated that the medication did not significantly reduce the volume of tumors (Table 1). This was true whether the mice were treated with fenbendazole before or after radiation. It is important to note that the results of this experiment were very similar to those from a previous experiment that compared three-injection fenbendazole with untreated mice and irradiated mice.
When treating animals with fenbendazole, it is important to follow the recommended dosage guidelines as prescribed by your veterinarian. For dogs and cats, the recommended dose is 50 mg fenbendazole/kg (22.7 mg/lb) of body weight daily for three consecutive days. The granules can be mixed with your pet’s food to make administration easier.
It is also important to monitor your pet for signs of a negative reaction to the medication, especially when first starting treatment. Observe your pet closely for any adverse reactions such as nausea, salivation or vomiting and report these to your veterinarian. If the reaction is severe, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Your vet may prescribe a compounded formulation of fenbendazole for your pet if there is a reason that an FDA-approved drug cannot be used, such as a fear of pill form or because the veterinarian has determined that a particular dosage strength of the drug is not commercially available. A compounded medication is made by a licensed pharmacist on an individual basis to best meet your pet’s needs. fenbendazole capsules