By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is sarolaner?

Sarolaner (brand name Simparica®) is used to treat and control flea and tick infestations in dogs. After being ingested by a dog, sarolaner is distributed throughout the body. When fleas or ticks bite the dog, they are exposed to the drug and killed during their blood meal. Sarolaner is also used in combination products for both dogs and cats.

Sometimes, sarolaner is used for the treatment of sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange, or ear mites. When sarolaner is prescribed for the treatment of mange, 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 quickly does it kill fleas and ticks?

Following exposure, the majority of fleas will be killed within hours of biting a sarolaner-treated dog. 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 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 your dog and are killed, the faster the infestation will be eliminated.

This medication begins to kill fleas within four to eight hours and takes at least 12 hours to start to kill ticks. Improvement in clinical signs should follow.

How do I give sarolaner to my dog?

Sarolaner is given by mouth in the form of a 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 after receiving the drug on an empty stomach, try giving the next dose with food. If your dog vomits within one hour of receiving the dose, re-dose your pet. If your dog vomits between one and three hours of dosing, some but not all of the product has been absorbed. Re-dosing, in this case, is not recommended and you should check with your veterinarian for a backup topical medication for the month. Regular dosing the following month can be resumed. If your dog vomits three or more hours after dosing, the medication has likely been fully absorbed. Note: If you are unsure about re-dosing your dog, contact your veterinarian. If vomiting continues, contact your veterinarian.

What if I forget to give my dog the medication or my shipment is late?

Give the forgotten dose as soon as you remember and start a new monthly dosing schedule. For example, if you forgot to give your pet 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 pet will receive would be on July 18th. Do not give your dog two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects from sarolaner?

The majority of dogs have very few side effects from sarolaner, 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). The most common side effects are vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and sleepiness. Rare side effects may include lack of coordination, difficulty walking, trembling, or shaking. Contact your veterinarian if you observe these side effects. At that time, make sure your veterinarian is aware of any other medications/natural remedies that you are giving to your dog.

This long-acting medication lasts for at least four to six weeks and may last longer in pets with kidney or liver disease.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Do not use sarolaner in dogs weighing under 2.8 lbs (1.2kg) or under six months old. Do not use the single-agent product in cats. Sarolaner should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or other nervous system disorders, or that have not tested negative for heartworm disease. Sarolaner has not been evaluated in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs, and therefore should be used with caution, if at all, in these cases.

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

At this time, there are no known drug interactions reported with sarolaner. 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 sarolaner. Monitor for efficacy and for side effects.

How do I store sarolaner?

Store sarolaner-based products in the original prescription packaging at room temperature below 30°C (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