Elephant Formulary

© 2003-17 Susan K. Mikota DVM and Donald C. Plumb, Pharm.D. Published by
Elephant Care International

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Elephant specific information, if available, is in blue.

Chemistry – A benzimidazole anthelmintic structurally related to mebendazole, albendazole has a molecular weight of 265. It is insoluble in water and soluble in alcohol.


Storage/Stability/Compatibility – Albendazole suspension should be stored at room temperature(15-30°C); avoid freezing. Shake well before using.


Uses/Indications – Albendazole is approved for the following endoparasites of cattle: Ostertagia ostertagiHaemonchus spp.Trichostrongylus spp., Nematodius spp., Cooperia spp., Bunostomum phlebotomum, Oesphagostomum spp., Dictacaulus spp., Fasciola hepatica (adults), and Moniezia spp. It is also used in sheep, goats and swine for endoparasite control.


In cats, albendazole has been used to treat Paragonimus kellicotti infections. In dogs and cats, albendazole has been used to treat capillariasis. In dogs, albendazole has been used to treat Filaroides infections.


Albendazole was implicated as being an oncogen in 1984, but subsequent studies were unable to demonstrate any oncogenic or carcinogenic activity of the drug.


Pharmacokinetics – Pharmacokinetic data for albendazole in cattle, dogs and cats were not located. The drug is thought to be better absorbed orally than other benzimidazoles. Approximately 47% of an oral dose was recovered (as metabolites) in the urine over a 9 day period.


After oral dosing in sheep, the parent compound was either not detectable or only transiently detectable in the plasma due to a very rapid first-pass effect. The active metabolites, albendazole sulphoxide and albendazole sulfone reached peak plasma concentrations 20 hours after dosing.


Contraindications/Precautions – The drug is not approved for use in lactating dairy cattle. The manufacturer recommends not administering to female cattle during the first 45 days of pregnancy or for 45 days after removal of bulls. Albendazole has been associated with teratogenic and embryotoxic effects in rats, rabbits and sheep when given early in pregnancy.


In humans, albendazole is recommended to be used with caution in patients with liver or hematologic diseases.


Adverse Effects/Warnings – Albendazole is tolerated without significant adverse effects when dosed in cattle at recommended dosages.


Dogs treated at 50 mg/kg twice daily may develop anorexia. Cats may exhibit symptoms of mild lethargy, depression, anorexia, and resistance to taking the medication when albendazole is used to treat Paragonimus.


Overdosage/Toxicity – Doses of 300 mg/kg (30X recommended) and 200 mg/kg have caused death in cattle and sheep, respectively. Doses of 45 mg/kg (4.5X) those recommended did not cause any adverse effects in cattle tested. Cats receiving 100 mg/kg/day for 14-21 days showed signs of weight loss, neutropenia and mental dullness.


Drug Interactions – In humans, dexamethasone and praziquantal both have been demonstrated to increase albendazole serum levels. Cimetidine increased albendazole levels in bile and cystic fluid. Veterinary clinical relevance is unknown.


Doses –


For susceptible parasites:

a)   10 mg/kg PO (Labeled directions; Valbazen®—SKB)

b)   7.5 mg/kg PO; 15 mg/kg PO for adult liver flukes. (Roberson 1988b)

c)   For adult liver flukes: 10 mg/kg PO; best used in fall when the majority are adults (little or no efficacy against immature forms). A second treatment in winter may be beneficial. (Herd 1986b)



a) 2.5 mg/kg orally as a single dose (Chandrasekharan, 2002) (Chandrasekharan et.al., 1995), (Chandrasekharan, 1992).


Elephant References:

         aChandrasekharan,K. 2002. Specific diseases of Asian elephants. Journal of Indian Veterinary Association Kerala 7:(3):31-34 

    a) Chandrasekharan,K., Radhakrishnan,K., Cheeran,J.V., Nair,K.N.M., and Prabhakaran,T., 1995. Review of the Incidence, Etiology and Control of Common Diseases of Asian Elephants with Special Reference to Kerala. In: Daniel,J.C. (Editor), A Week with Elephants; Proceedings of the International Seminar on Asian Elephants. Bombay Natural History Society; Oxford University Press, Bombay, India pp. 439-449

         a) Chandrasekharan,K., 1992. Prevalence of infectious diseases in elephants in Kerala and their treatment. In: Silas,E.G., Nair,M.K., and Nirmalan,G. (Editors), The Asian Elephant: Ecology, Biology, Diseases, Conservation and Management (Proceedings of the National Symposium on the Asian Elephant held at the Kerala Agricultural University, Trichur, India, January 1989). Kerala Agricultural University, Trichur, India pp. 148-155

Monitoring Parameters –

1)   Efficacy

2)   Adverse effects if used in non-approved species or at dosages higher than recommended.


Client Information – Shake well before administering. Contact veterinarian if adverse effects occur.


Dosage Forms/Preparations/FDA Approval Status –


Veterinary-Approved Products:

Albendazole Suspension 113.6 mg/ml (11.36%) in 500 ml, 1 liter, 5 liter

Albendazole Paste  205 g (7.2 oz); Valbazen ® (Pfizer); (OTC) Approved for use in cattle (not female cattle of breeding age). Slaughter withdrawal=27 days.



Human-Approved Products:

Albendazole Tablets 200 mg Albenza ®  (SmithKline Beecham), (Rx)