By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

calendar depicting schedule for dog's dose of parasite preventionWhat is afoxolaner?

Afoxolaner (NexGard®) is used to treat and prevent flea and tick infestations in dogs. It is also used as a preventive for Lyme disease. After being ingested by a dog, afoxolaner is distributed throughout the dog’s body. When fleas or ticks bite the dog, they are exposed to the drug and killed during their blood meal.

Sometimes afoxolaner is used for the treatment of sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange, cutaneous myiasis, ear mite infestations and, sand fly infestations in dogs. It is also occasionally used in cats to treat ear mites and in birds to treat Peacock louse. When afoxolaner is prescribed in these cases, it is referred to as 'extra-label' or 'off-label' use. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off-label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully, as their directions may be significantly different from those on the manufacturer’s label.

How quickly does afoxolaner kill fleas and ticks?

"After exposure, this medication begins to kill fleas after four hours and ticks after at least 12 hours."

After exposure, this medication begins to kill fleas after four hours and ticks after at least 12 hours. Keep in mind that you will likely continue to see fleas on a treated dog for some time, especially if you have a flea infestation in your home. Fleas will continue to hatch and climb onto your dog in search of a blood meal. The fleas' death prevents reproduction and new eggs being laid in the home. The more fleas that climb onto the dog and are killed, the faster the infestation will be eliminated.

How do I give afoxolaner my dog?

Afoxolaner is given by mouth in the form of a chewable tablet. The tablet should always be given as directed by your veterinarian. It can be given with or without food or water. Be sure your dog consumes the entire dose. If your dog vomits within two hours of dosing, give another full dose. Try giving the next dose with food.

What if I forget to give my dog a scheduled dose?

Give the missed dose as soon as you remember and start a new monthly dosing schedule. For example, if you forgot to give your dog his/her dose on June 1st and remember on June 18th, give the dose on June 18th and start a new monthly schedule. The next dose your dog will receive would be on July 18th. Do not give your dog two doses at once.

Are there any potential side effects from afoxolaner?

Most dogs have very few side effects from afoxolaner, provided it is given according to label recommendations and at the prescribed interval (or for off-label use, according to the directions given by your veterinarian). If you observe any vomiting, dry/flaky skin, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, or neurological signs such as incoordination, muscle tremors, or seizures, contact your veterinarian. At that time, make sure your veterinarian is aware of any other medications or natural remedies that you give your dog.

Are there any risk factors with afoxolaner?

Afoxolaner should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures. Do not use it in pets that are allergic to it. Do not use it in dogs less than eight weeks of age or that weigh less than four pounds (1.8kg) unless instructed by your veterinarian.

Afoxolaner has not been evaluated in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs.

Are there any drug interactions that I should be aware of?

At this time, there are no known drug interactions reported with afoxolaner. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

"Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking."

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

There is no specific monitoring required for dogs receiving afoxolaner.

How do I store afoxolaner?

Store afoxolaner-based products at room temperature (below 30°C or 86°F) in a cool, dry place, away from heat.

What should I do in case of an emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

Related Articles