Generic Drug Name: Levamisole
Other Common Names: Levasole, Tramisol
Levamisole is an antiparasitic and immune stimulant that is used to treat many kinds of nematodes in cattle, sheep, and goats. It is also used in swine to treat ascaris suum, oesophagostomum spp., strongyloides, stephanurus, and metastrongylus. This drug has also been used in dogs as a microfilaricide for treating dirofilaria immitis.
Levamisole should not be used in animals that are lactating, animals that are severely debilitated, or animals suffering from severe renal or hepatic impairment. Caution should be exercised when administering to cattle experiencing stress caused by vaccination, dehorning, or castration. It should not be used as a dirofilarial adulticide.
Some common negative side effects experienced by cattle taking levamisole include foaming at the muzzle, and hypersalivation, excitement or trembling, and lip-licking and shaking of the head. Patients may also experience swelling at the site of injection. Sheep have been observed experiencing transient excitability while on levamisole. Depression, hyperesthesia, and salivation may be experienced by goats. Other possible side effects can include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, agitation, shaking, immune-mediated anemia, dyspnea, agranulocytosis, pulmonary edema, erythroedema, erythema multiforme, epidermal necrolysis, mydriasis, and lethargy.
Levamisole should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if an overdose is suspected, the symptoms of which include hypersalivation, hyperesthesias and irritability, CNS depression, clonic seizures, dyspnea, collapse, urination, and defecation.
Levamisole should be stored in a container that is resistant to light, childproof, and sealed tightly. Refrigeration is generally recommended, but it should not be allowed to freeze. Medication should be kept in a location where it will not be reached by children and pets.
A common dose of levamisole for dogs is .5-12 mg/kg administered once, three times a day, or three times a week depending on the condition being treated. For sheep and goats, a normal dose is 7.5-8 mg/kg. For cattle, a typical dose is 3.3-11 mg/kg administered with food. For swine, a normal dose is 8 mg/kg with food or water. Should a dose be forgotten, it should be administered as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the regular medication administration schedule should be continued.
Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.