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Pyrantel Pamoate

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Intestinal worms are surprisingly common in canines and felines—especially in puppies and kittens. Fortunately, many of these parasitic infections can be effectively treated by using deworming medications. One such medication is pyrantel pamoate, which is most commonly used to treat roundworms and hookworms. Veterinarians frequently recommend pyrantel pamoate for dogs, cats and many other animals. 

Known by a few different brand names—including Nemex and Strongid—pyrantel pamoate can be used by itself or in combination with other deworming medications. While its use is effective in treating certain parasitic infections, pyrantel for dogs and cats does not treat all intestinal parasites, including tapeworms and whipworms.  

Table of Contents:

What are roundworms and hookworms?  

Both roundworms and hookworms are parasites that can live in the intestines of cats and dogs. Roundworms get their name from their tubular shape, and they are the most common intestinal parasites seen in puppies and kittens. They survive by feeding on partially digested food in a pet’s intestinal tract. A large infestation of roundworms can leech away the nutrients puppies and kittens need to grow and thrive. As a result, kittens and puppies with untreated roundworms can suffer from stunted growth, nutritional deficiencies, vomiting and diarrhea.  

Hookworms earn their name from their hook-like mouthparts, which they use to cling onto the intestinal walls of their host animal. From this location, they feed on tissues and fluids from small blood vessels in the intestinal wall. Puppies and kittens with a high number of hookworms may suffer anemia, weakness and intestinal distress.  A large infestation of hookworms can even be life-threatening.

Eggs from both roundworms and hookworms are passed through the droppings of infected animals. Your pets can become infected with roundworms or hookworms through contact with these droppings. Kittens and puppies can also be born with roundworms or become infected with hookworms soon after birth if their mother is infected. 

What is pyrantel pamoate?  

Pyrantel pamoate for dogs and cats is an antiparasitic that works by paralyzing roundworms and hookworms. The paralyzed worms are then eliminated from your pet’s system through their droppings.  

Pyrantel—also known as Strongid for dogs and cats—is only effective against adult parasites. Therefore, pet parents need to readminister the medication every two weeksto flush out larvae that have since developed into adults.  

How do I tell if my pet has roundworms or hookworms? 

It can be difficult for pet parents to identify the presence of intestinal parasites, which is why regular wellness exams at your veterinarian’s office are so important. Puppies and kittens are more likely to show symptoms of a parasite infection than adults. Dogs and cats with hookworms may experience weight loss, itching around the paws, diarrhea or weakness. Other signs of infection include a dull coat or pale gums. A serious roundworm infection in puppies or kittens may result in diarrhea, stunted growth or a pot-bellied appearance. 

Your veterinarian will need a stool sample from your pet to test for intestinal parasites before they can recommend pyrantel pamoate for dogs or cats. In a test known as “fecal flotation,” a solution is added to a small stool sample causing roundworm or hookworm eggs to float to the top, which can then be easily spotted under a microscope. 

If your veterinarian diagnoses a roundworm or hookworm infection, they may recommend Strongid for cats and dogs to eliminate the issue.

Deworming is also recommended by the Companion Animal Parasite Council for puppies and kittens as part of their regular vaccination and preventive care visits. Your veterinarian will likely recommend multiple deworming treatments to ensure any intestinal parasites your pet has are eliminated.

How is pyrantel pamoate taken? 

Pyrantel pamoate can be administered in the form of a tablet, oral paste or oral suspension.   

General dosage guidelines 

Your veterinarian will be able to determine the accurate pyrantel pamoate dosage for your pet based on their size, age and other factors. A typical pyrantel pamoate dosage for dogs and cats is 2.5 milligrams to 5 milligrams per pound of bodyweight.  

In most cases, the medicine is given as a single dose. Until a negative fecal test is received, your pet will need a subsequent dose every two weeks to remove any newly matured roundworms or hookworms from their system.  

Side effects of pyrantel pamoate for cats or dogs 

Pyrantel for dogs and cats is a relatively gentle drug because it is poorly absorbed through the intestine. It may even be recommended for pregnant or nursing pets. With proper dosing as determined by your vet, the risks of side effects are minimal.    

A pet may experience vomiting, diarrhea or a lack of appetite on rare occasions after taking pyrantel pamoate. You may also see worms in their vomit or poop—this is a positive sign showing the worms are being eliminated by the medication. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns.  

How will I know if Strongid T for dogs and cats works? 

This oral suspension version of pyrantel pamoate should begin working within one to two hours of giving a dose to your pet. However, you may not see the parasites in your pet’s droppings afterwards. It is important to have your veterinarian perform another fecal test that looks for parasite eggs after the course of treatment is complete to confirm that your pet’s intestinal parasites have been eliminated.  

Storing pyrantel pamoate 

As an oral suspension, pyrantel pamoate for dogs and cats is usually stored in a light-resistant container. Store all forms of the medication at room temperature and shake liquids thoroughly before administering them to your pet.  

Are there any reasons a pet shouldn’t take pyrantel pamoate? 

This medication may not be appropriate for extremely frail pets or those with a known allergy to pyrantel. Your veterinarian should be able to determine if pyrantel pamoate is suitable for your pet. 

Possible drug interactions 

Always let your veterinarian know if your pet is currently taking any other medications as well as any vitamins or supplements. Pyrantel pamoate for dogs and cats does have known drug interactions and should be used with caution when taking certain drugs—including levamisole, morantel and piperazine.  

Can infected pets give roundworms or hookworms to humans? 

Hookworms and roundworms are considered zoonotic, meaning they can also infect humans. Children, older people and those that may be immunocompromised are at highest risk.

Hookworm larvae can infect humans by burrowing through their skin. This usually occurs when barefoot children or adults step on soil contaminated with hookworm larvae and can cause itching and a rash. In some cases, the larvae may move through the body and cause damage to organs and eyes. This is another reason why disposing of the pet droppings so important. Wearing shoes outside and maintaining good hygiene can help lower the risk of hookworm larvae infecting you or a member of your family. Adult hookworms cannot infect humans, however, meaning there is no risk of larvae infections turning into intestinal parasites. 

It is possible for humans to swallow roundworm eggs that come from the droppings of an infected animal. This is most often seen in young children. In these instances, the larvae may invade the tissues and organs of the child. A roundworm infection can cause liver issues or even blindness in very rare cases.  

If you suspect that a member of your family may have come into contact with roundworm or hookworm eggs or larvae, contact your primary care physician.  

Where can I find pyrantel pamoate for puppies and kittens? 

If your veterinarian recommends pyrantel pamoate for your pet, you can order it online at Petco. Your vet may also suggest a general dewormer which includes pyrantel pamoate along with other antiparasitics. At Petco, we offer a wide array of dog health and wellness solutions and cat health and wellness solutions to help your beloved pets live their best lives.   

Always consult your veterinarian before giving any medications or dog or cat vitamins and supplements to your pet. 

Pet prescriptions available to order at Petco

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Reviewed by Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM

As Petco’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Miller is the lead veterinary subject matter expert, overseeing the company’s standards of excellence in animal care and welfare, growth in pet services and much more. Dr. Miller leads Petco’s medical team, supporting over 200 full-service hospitals and mobile vaccination clinics operating in over 1,000 Petco Pet Care Centers nationwide