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Don’t Forget Pyrantel Equine Dewormers

By Dr. Dave Ellefson
Director, Technical Services
Bimeda, Inc.


In the age of “less-is-more” deworming strategies, an often forgotten dewormer choice is pyrantel. Pyrantel belongs to a class of dewormers known as tetrahydropyrimidines. The tetrahydropyrimidines (pyrantel pamoate and pyrantel tartrate) mimic the activity of acetylcholine, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that initiates muscular contraction. Pyrantel salts induce the same muscle-contracting effect as acetylcholine, but the resulting contraction is irreversible. This results in rigid paralysis, so the worm is unable to feed and quickly starves. Pyrantel has the fastest activity of any of the major deworming classes used in horses.

So, with this information in mind, where does pyrantel fit into a dewormer program? Here are two distinct, applications for pyrantel dewormer:

  1. Avermectin-resistant Ascarid (roundworm) Infestations: Ascarids are showing emerging resistance to avermectins1 in certain parts of the horse world. Pyrantel offers a great, safe alternative for deworming young horses on avermectin-resistant horse farms.
  2. Pinworms: Pyrantel is still the drug-of-choice for pinworms in children2. It is safe and highly effective. Many horse owners are noticing pinworms, even after using some of the other dewormer groups, such as avermectins or benzimidazoles. Pyrantel offers a very safe, very effective answer to persistent pinworms in horses.

Durvet Pyrantel Paste Horse Dewormer

  1. Lyons, E.T., et al. Parasitology Research July 2008, Volume 103, Issue 2, pp 287-291
  2. Pinworm Treatment & Management (2012), Sun Huh, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Burke A Cunha, MD


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