Terbinafine - Topical

By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is terbinafine?

Terbinafine (brand name Lamisil®) is a topical antifungal used occasionally to treat skin fungal infections in dogs. It is not as effective for treating fungal skin infections in cats.

Terbinafine is also found in an ear solution in combination with other medications for use in dogs (e.g., Claro®).

Its use as a topical antifungal in dogs is ‘off label’ or ‘extra-label’. 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 do I give my pet terbinafine?

Terbinafine is used topically on the skin in the form of a cream or spray, or as an ear solution in combination with other medications. Care should be taken to avoid the eyes and mucous membranes of your pet.

Gloves should be worn while applying this medication or hands should be washed immediately after application.

This medication can take a few weeks before full effects are noted, but gradual improvements are usually appreciable after a few days.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication or my shipment is late?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Skin irritation is possible but unlikely to occur.

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?

No risk factors have been noted at this time, however topical terbinafine has not been studied extensively in animals.


Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

No interactions have been noted at this time. However, 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 that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working.

How do I store terbinafine?

Terbinafine cream or spray should be stored at room temperature, 25°C (77°F) with the container tightly sealed, away from light.

What should I do in case of 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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