This article discusses the safe and effective extralabel use of selamectin for a range of ectoparasites and some endoparasites found in a variety of small mammals and birds, including naturally occurring infestations and infections of Ctenocephalides felis, Otodectes cynotis, and Dirofilaria immitis in ferrets; different flea species, Psoroptes cuniculi, Cheyletiella species, and Leporacarus gibbus in rabbits; different chewing lice, Trixacarus caviae, and Chirodiscoides caviae in guinea pigs; Ornithonyssus bacoti and Demodex species in hamsters and gerbils; Polyplax species and fur mites in rats and mice; different flea species, Demodex erinacei, Crenosoma striatum, and Capillaria species in hedgehogs; and chewing lice in birds. Depending on the dose required for an exotic animal, treatment may involve administration of all or part of the contents of a pipette. Dosing regimens administered to different hosts against various parasites are summarized in a table. All treatments described in this paper were well tolerated. Label claims for the commercial formulation of selamectin are for the treatment of otodectic mange caused by Otodectes cynotis in dogs and cats and for sarcoptic mange in dogs. Claims against fleas and biting lice in dogs and cats, Toxocara spp in dogs and cats, and hookworms in cats are also stated, and it is licensed as a heartworm preventative with efficacy against larval stages of Dirofilaria immitis.

COMMENTARY: Because there are few medicines licensed for the treatment of pets other than dogs and cats, practitioners often need to use products extralabelly. This article gives useful information for treating exotic animal patients with parasites. Some of the parasites are the same as those seen in dogs and cats, and others are unique to exotic pets. -- Patricia Thomblison, DVM, MS

Efficacy and safety of selamectin (Stronghold/Revolution) used off-label in exotic pets. Fisher M, Beck W, Hutchinson MJ. INTL J APPL RES VET MED 5:87-95, 2007.