Dog deworming tablets are essential for maintaining canine health. However, they do eventually expire. Can they still be given to your pet? Will they be effective if the tablets are already past the “best before” date? Let’s find out.
Do Dog Worming Tablets Expire?
Canine parasites are prevalent, and sometimes no matter how meticulous you are in caring for your furry companion, they can still get in. However, it is easier than ever to purchase dog deworming tablets online, and you can stock more than what you need because these medications are easy to buy.
However, what do you do with the medication when it has already passed the best before date? Do you keep the medicines? Do you throw them out? What’s the truth about these expiration dates on doggy medications?
Can You Use Expired Dewormer?
This is one of the biggest causes of debate in many pet circles. If you want the official answer, then no, you must never use expired deworming tablets simply because they might not be at 100% once given after the expiration date.
The logic behind the expiration date for medicine (for humans and dogs) is that the drug will no longer be as practical to use after the expiration date. As a result, your dog may not get the same level of treatment expected for that condition.
This is the biggest reason why veterinarians almost always throw out expired medication from their clinics or offices. They don’t want to administer medication that may not be at 100%.
The big question that pet owners have is – will the expired deworming tablets harm their dogs? No, it won’t cause disease of any sort, but again, it won’t work at the same level compared to medication that is still fresh or within the best-before date range. So here are some important reminders:
- When you are given loose pills or powders, the expiration of that batch may or may not be added to the documentation for that dispensation. Again, it depends on the regulations for state or city.
If you can’t find the expiration date, you have to ask the vet’s office for the expiration date. They will find the batch where the medications came from and convey that information to you.
- Sealed tablets and powders are relatively stable even after expiration. However, mathematically speaking, the effectiveness of the medication is reduced approximately 12 to 24 months after manufacturing.
Some medications for large animals like horses, such as ivermectin, can remain stable and active even after ten years of storage. While not all meds will be as stable as ivermectin, all meds will still be somewhat effective years after manufacturing.
This means that they might still be somewhat effective, but the effectiveness cannot be compared to identical medication that has been freshly manufactured.
- Several factors affect the longevity of medication for dogs. These factors include the conditions of the storage, how well-sealed the container is, is the container exposed to direct sunlight, is the temperature of the room stable, it is too cold or too hot, and is the area relatively dry?
If the ideal conditions are met, you can be sure that any medication in this kind of storage will remain effective, perhaps months after the expiration date. However, if the reality is the opposite, don’t expect much because many canine medications react harshly to the air and fluctuations in temperature and humidity. As a result, they spoil quickly if not kept properly.
- One of the most stable forms of canine medication is powdered medication. The powder will remain stable as long as it is kept in ideal storage conditions. However, powdered medication upon constitution will lose its vitality reasonably quickly. The shelf life of reconstituted medicine is usually only weeks or months, whether it has to be taken orally or if it is to be applied intravenously to the patient.
How Long Does Horse Dewormer Last?
Horse deworming formulations should have the best before date on the original packaging. If you obtained yours from the horse doc, it’d be best to ask for the expiration date so you can organize your horse medications properly. Administering medication at home can be learned, but you still need to document the expiration dates. As for the general rule of thumb for the expiration of horses, dewormers are one year after the factory releases the medications.
However, horse owners have something to say about the expiration dates of medications like ivermectin. They state that if these dewormers were kept dry and away from the sun, the actual expiration date is at least one year after the designated best-before date on the box.
So which piece of advice would you follow in this case? First, we have to consider the previous discussion on the law of diminishing returns in the context of the effectiveness of animal medications. While the medicines would still work, the point has likely been lowered by the age of that batch of dewormer pills. This means that your horse will possibly not be getting the required dose for a full deworming.
This might not be a problem for relatively healthy horses as parasitic worms may not be as plentiful, and they can hold out until the next deworming. However, the same cannot be said for sick or old horses who need to be dewormed fully to regain their strength or recover from parasitic infections. In the end, it would be up to the owner to figure out if the aged deworming medication is sufficient or not based on what he knows of the health of the horse.
Does Dewormer Expire?
Yes, all forms of deworming medication expire, regardless of the animal it was intended for. Therefore, if you have excess deworming medication at home from a few years back, it would be best to dispose of them as they may no longer work as intended. They won’t be precisely toxic or poisonous, but they may no longer be viable for addressing the problem.
What Happens When Dewormer Expire?
Expired deworming medications will eventually lose their effectiveness a year or two after they have been manufactured. This is because a certain percentage of energy is lost every year after manufacture until the drug is no longer viable.