Shepards and worming and math

I learned a hard lesson this past week. And i wanted to post what happened, and why, and what i did, in case anyone is searching for some answers regarding worming their dogs off lable. And i can't blame anyone but myself for this. Not vets, and not information i received off the internet. What i can only do is say, don't believe everything you read when it comes to dosing. DO THE RESEARCH yourself.

Here's what happened...

Since i have so many animals using the Heartguard wormer on the 3 dogs was getting a bit expensive so i stopped when i bought a bottle of Ivomec cattle wormer 1%injection solution thinking i would be able to use it for all the animals. I did NOT use it till i spoke with my vet, he showed me how much to give, looked at the needles i was using and then WROTE down the amounts for me. Idiot proof, right??.

He knows my dogs, has been monitoring my one dog "old man" for over 2 years, as well as my other dogs. Old man came up heartworm positive the first time 2 years ago. In that time, we opted for the heartguard monthly treatment. This way is off label yes, but cheaply can help eradicate any new heartworm. And the older ones will die off naturally, no more being created. It stops the life cycle. And it does not hurt the dog any more or less than the other ways, where you bring the dog in and they massively dose with another kind of wormer. Both have their benefits, and precautions. I opted for the cheaper and less invasive way. and it worked great.

I got the all clear from the vet 2.5 months ago. We tested for heartworm in old man and he came up clean. So when it was time to worm all the animals i wormed everyone with the Ivomec 1% solution for CATTLE.

I wormed old man and beebe on tuesday evening around 9pm...He was fine till Thursday evening late he started to show signs of drunken behavior. And i just wrote it off as some pinched nerve or arthritic problem. In the past month i had been noticing him stretch oddly and i felt the two might be related.

Friday morning he was 100 times worse. Bumping into things, very ataxic, like a statue, his eyes were all clouded over couldn't find a pupil and he had this furrow to his brow like he was squinting. It didn't occur at the time he might be blind He was also at a stand unable to keep his balance but, would catch him self before he'd fall. I brought him inside thinking stroke. And or diabetes. I called my neighbors who are EMT's and a NURSE, and asked to help me check respiration and heartbeat. All was pretty normal. WE then gave some sugar in his food thinking diabetic shock. HE did perk up a bit, eyes brightened and he walked off almost normal. That didn't last.

Within an hour he was back to drunkeness. And lethargic. He slept the whole day. Never moving. I kept him quiet and in the dark. he never urinated nor bowel moved. But he still had an apetite. but not drinking water. So i mixed pedialyte/dog food and half gallon of water. And he lapped it all up. I am still doing that. his apetite is only if i hand it to him. And in a bowl with water and sugar and some pedialyte. he looks like he's anorexic. and he is just so sad to watch. stumbling and confused. Will hear my voice, will come to me... leans into me...

Saturday morning i took him to the emergency room vet to have CBC/Panel/electrolytes checked just to make sure he wasn't going into liver failure or kidney. Vet had no answers for me. Just to keep him and put him in observation, and IV.. I said no and took him home. I should have done another heartworm test. To see if this was the cause. And that his body was giving out to the assault the worming was doing to the worms.

I called my regular vet, he too (like the emergency vet) did NOT believe this was an ivomec allergic reaction, nor an overdose. At first i agreed and tend to believe what the vet thinks... I asked the ER vet if it could be vestibular disease, or if the ear infection got out of control could that create this serious unbalance problem. She said no he didn't present as vestibular, and said it was unlikely to be mites, she checked his ears and then checked his eyes. The vestibular disease has a obvious weird look about their eyes, i guess a telltale sign. both areas checked clean. I asked then what could it be... she mentioned neurological things, tick borne illnesses, and or viral kinds of problems. Like encephalitis. NOT ONCE did she say its probably an overdose...OR if he was a shepard (she is looking right at him) that it might be a blood brain barrier issue with these kinds of dogs.

More research and some thinking and chatting with others on the net led me to realize the coincedence of worming on tuesday is just too much.

SO what do i have left. A coincedence. I gave a new wormer and two days later i have a really sick dog. I'm going with the coincedence. Now its not the wormer perse, since i gave all my dogs it at the same time. And its NOT my overdosing perse (will get to that) because i triple checked the syringe against the amounts given to me by my vet... And again, 2 dogs are fine. One is not.

Old man is 76lbs and the largest of the the three... he is a shepard mix of probably hound and various other large breeds. I had heard about collies and the blood brain barrier issues with them and ivomec, causing deadly toxic deaths, but i had NEVER heard of shephards being in that category. Now my vet has seen this dog, he should have said something or mentioned that shephards are still ancestorly in line with collies. OR the ER Vet might have mentioned that after the fact. I can only assume it didn't register or neither of them knew the link. And how could you not? its all over the internet. And i'm sure vets are kept to date on stuff like this. So why then did they NOT know....

As to the wormer there are some serious discrepancies on amounts. I looked up after the fact and found as much as 5x's of a difference in what you should administer.

For a 76lb dog my vet said .7ml...

which seemed like a small enough dosage.
The rule of thumb is 1/10 a cc per 10lb of dog...


and that is what i did. Erroneously, this is supposedly OLD information. Newer information states that:

for a 50-100lb dog the dose should be .272cc...

BIG difference. Now granted again i dosed my 15 lb dog, and my 45lb dog at the prescribed weights my vet gave me and all was fine with them. Just not with my shepard mix.

And this is the reason that my dog never overdosed on heartguard or presented these symptoms with me giving the heartguard. heartguard only has .272 of ivermectin in one of those chewables... Not .7... so I did in fact overdose my dog by 2.5 x's the regular amount he is used to.

This leads me to another point. Ivermectin is the safest in terms of toxicity poisoning. Twice now i have had scares with it. The zimectrin gold worming tube for my horses malfunctioned, and i gave enough wormer to my 100lb mini as that of a 1000lb horse. Of course, i panicked called my EQ VET. He did the math and said that 5x's the dose of ivermectin could be given without some serious toxic effects. I also, have an african grey that got out one day and chewed an entire box of Heartguard. I called my Avian VET not knowing what to do. And she too did the math and said that if he had eaten what i think he had eaten out of the box he too was well within that RANGE. and not to worry. These episodes back up the claim (in my mind) that ivermectin is a very safe wormer.

EXCEPT in collies/shepards/etc... and make sure you're FOUND dog doesn't have something in him down the line of collies.

Other things i have learned in my research is that some like to mix it with propylene glycol and this might be mistakenly left out of certain peoples dosage equations. One very helpful, lady mentioned that and i'm not sure how much it would change the amount because my heads spinning at this point. in terms of amounts, weights, volume, conversions, etc...

The math scares me. And the doses on the bottles are different. Swine ivomec says .27% solution. The bottle i used is for cattle, it says 1% solution... big difference if a person isn't paying attention right there can OD an animal 4 x's the difference.

For what its worth, here is the quote i got... again the math is just scary. Most Dr.s do the math in kg...kilograms. Do you know the conversion of your dog from lbs to kg's? that again might not be mentioned when doing the research of dosages for your animal...

my dog is 76lbs which is 34.47 kg... which by doing the math below is .19ml for dosage.

NOT .7 ml like the vet said....

50x34.47=1723.5 divide by10000=.17

if i do the math in lbs.. the old way? and in pounds? it comes out to .70ml...
1/10 a cc per 10lb of dog...

And then if you do the math without converting necessary things? all kinds of different numbers come up...

Additional notes on ivermectin: Be careful when calculating doses and administering ivermectin solution, as the concentration in most available solutions is very high compared to the dose needed for small animal treatment. Remember 1% solution = 1 gram/100 ml = 10 mg/ml = 10,000 ug/ml. For a microfilaricidal dose of 50 micrograms per kg for a 10 kg dog, you would need 500 micrograms, or 500/10,000 = 0.05 mls of 1% solution, even smaller doses for preventive level treatment (0.005 mls!). For this reason, people often dilute 1 ml of the 1% solution with 99 mls of propylene glycol, to create a solution that is 100 micrograms per ml. The preventive dose of ivermectin for a 10 kg dog then would be 0.5 mls, the microfilaricidal dose would be 5 mls.

Which again (got to pound it in) with this description would mean i give .02 amount for a 76lb dog with the 1% solution. And then mixing it with propylene gylcol makes it .2.

And curious what was mixed in with the ivomec the site says it already haas propylene gylcol.

Now, see why my head is spinning? .7? .272? .17 or .02? ugh... i'm pulling my hair out at this point.


I'm an artist. I 'am purely a rightbrained individual. I can't add. I hate math. It gives me a headache. and because of this I took the word of my vet. And I shouldn't have. They are people too. and they can make mistakes. They add or subtract, get sidetracked, and who knows what...And its possible he might not have been thinking of the correct dose or didn't convert, assume i would ad PG, who knows. But until I do the research myself. I just won't be taking the word of anyone out there any longer. Because you just never know.... Of course, i will err on the side of caution in the future. And find as much info on something before i actually do it.

And this is all very possibly just a Shepard/Collie breed that can't handle anything over the heartguard dose. Or his body just couldn't handle it any longer period.I haven't decided what next. Give him heartguard? or totally switch him to a collie acceptable wormer...

Old man is getting a tad better. Its now monday this whole thing started on Thursday evening. i think he will survive. But will he ever be 100%? that i don't know. He is up and down. He can trott off in a straight line but when he stops he is like a drunk and disoriented. he is still lethargic and depressed. My little pug beebe she is fine. Except she had worms coming out of her like no tomorrow, 20 per stool. And this was the first time worming her since she came her 3 months ago (her previous owners swore she was wormed and vaccinated).. and i thought they were tapes. Ivermectin won't get tapes...So they Might not be, unless of course i OD'd her and them and they just abandoned her body. They were still alive when they came out and they were moving. I don't really know what worm they were exactly, looked like some rice and they had a flat look to them and their tip moved and expanded while the back end went to a point. They didn't look like the roundworm. Don't quite know what whip, hook worms look like.

Oliver, well he is already an epileptic. But i haven't seen a seizure yet. and hopefully he is just fine too.

Lesson learned. I think the ivomec will stay put. And will just start giving them the horse wormers in a paste, its cheaper than heartguard. but more expensive than ivomec... we'll see... I still have goats and pigs and horses, and chickens to worm....

Here are some links that helped me figure stuff out.

Online conversion forum

information on toxicity levels

read information from a vet

merck product label page on all wormers

dosage calculator

pet education.com

emergency dosages for epi


  1. Wow.

    I dropped by to say Merry Christmas and got a thorough education!

    Happy New Year too.

    Sugar Mtn Farm
    in Vermont

  2. Hi Walter,
    happy holidays to you to.

    i do tend to ramble and i was on a mission to find out WHY and HOW this mistake could have happened. Hope i didn't overwhelm you..


  3. This post has literally become the most popular post i've ever written. Please when you are here post a comment so i know who is in need of information. I'd appreciate it.

    thanks jojo

  4. Hey, thanks for the useful info on shepherd mix od's - I have two and am glad to have the info. In case you never found out, what your were seeing in the other dogs stools were proglottids (sp?) which are indicative that the dogs have tapeworms - they respond to wormers not strong enough to kill them by sending out packets of eggs. Gross, I know. We went through it with the two shepherd mixes when they were pups. Icky.


Howdy from Goodness Gracious. Please leave a comment. I do enjoy them. And try to respond to all who post. Thanks for visiting.

Goodness Gracious More...

Related Posts with Thumbnails