Imidocarb Dipropionate

By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is imidocarb dipropionate?

Imidocarb dipropionate (brand name Imizol®) is a drug used to treat infections caused by protozoa (single-celled organisms that sometimes cause disease). For example, it is used to treat babesiosis infection in dogs. Babesiosis is caused by the protozoa Babesia, which is transferred to pets via tick bites.

Sometimes imidocarb dipropionate is used for the treatment of ehrlichiosis or hepatozoonosis in dogs, cytauxzoonosis, babesiosis, or hemoplasmosis in cats, and piroplasmosis in horses. When imidocarb dipropionate is prescribed for the treatment of these diseases, it is referred to as ‘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 label.

How is imidocarb dipropionate given?

This drug is given by injection by a veterinarian.

This medication should take effect within two hours; however, effects may not be noted outwardly and laboratory tests may be needed to evaluate this medication’s efficacy.

Are there any potential side effects?

Dogs: The most common side effects in dogs include pain during the injection, salivation or drooling, nasal drip, and brief episodes of vomiting. Less commonly reported side effects include panting, diarrhea, swelling at the injection site, and restlessness. Rarely, a wound can form at the injection site.

Cats: The most common side effects in cats include salivation or drooling, tearing, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, restlessness, rapid heart rate, and difficulty breathing.

If the side effects of drooling or nasal drip are severe, contact your veterinarian. Treatments to reverse this may be given. This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

This drug should be used with caution in dogs and cats with impaired lung, liver, or kidney function. Use cautiously in cats, or young and debilitated dogs. Imidocarb can cross the placenta and its safety has not been established in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs; use cautiously in these cases.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

This drug should not be used in pets that have been exposed to cholinesterase-inhibiting drugs, pesticides, or chemicals. 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?

Testing by blood smear or other tests to see if the parasite has been eliminated may be recommended. Liver and kidney function tests before and after treatment are recommended. Monitor for serious side effects.

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.

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