Use of intravenous lipid emulsion to treat ivermectin toxicosis in a Border Collie

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2011 Nov 15;239(10):1328-33. doi: 10.2460/javma.239.10.1328.


Case description: A 2-year-old spayed female Border Collie was treated with IV lipid emulsion (ILE) after ingesting 6 mg/kg (2.73 mg/lb) of an equine ivermectin anthelmintic paste 8 hours prior to examination.

Clinical findings: On initial examination, the dog had stable cardiovascular signs but had diffuse muscle tremors and was hyperthermic. Neurologic evaluation revealed that the dog was ataxic and had mydriasis with bilaterally absent menace responses and pupillary light reflexes. The remaining physical examination findings were unremarkable. Results of CBC, serum biochemical analysis, venous blood gas analysis, and measurement of plasma lactate concentration were also within reference limits.

Treatment and outcome: The dog was treated with ILE in addition to supportive care with IV fluid therapy and cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurologic monitoring. The use of ILE treatment was initiated in this patient on the basis of previous clinical and experimental evidence supporting its use for toxicosis resulting from lipid-soluble agents. An initial bolus of 1.5 mL/kg (0.68 mL/lb) of a 20% sterile lipid solution was administered IV over 10 minutes, followed by a constant rate infusion of 0.25 mL/kg/min (0.11 mL/lb/min) over 60 minutes that was administered twice to treat clinical signs of ivermectin toxicosis. The dog was discharged from the hospital 48 hours after admission and was clinically normal within 4 days after ivermectin ingestion. Further diagnostic evaluation subsequently revealed that this dog was unaffected by the multidrug resistance gene (MDR-1) deletion, known as the ATP-binding cassette polymorphism.

Clinical relevance: Ivermectin toxicosis in veterinary patients can result in death without aggressive treatment, and severe toxicosis often requires mechanical ventilation and intensive supportive care. This is particularly true in dogs affected by the ATP-binding cassette polymorphism. Novel ILE treatment has been shown to be effective in human patients with lipid-soluble drug toxicoses, although the exact mechanism is unknown. In the patient in the present report, ILE was used successfully to treat ivermectin toxicosis, and results of serial measurement of serum ivermectin concentration supported the proposed lipid sink mechanism of action.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / adverse effects
  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Dog Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy
  • Dogs
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Ivermectin / adverse effects*


  • Anthelmintics
  • Antidotes
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Ivermectin