ISSN 2398-2993      

Parasiticides - overview


Synonym(s): acaricides, anthelmintics, antiprotozoals, flukicides, parasiticides


  • This article introduces the reader to the various types of parasiticides available to treat cattle.  Further details on individual drugs and parasites may be found by clicking on the links within the article.
  • Some definitions:
    • Acaricide: A compound that kills ticks and mites.
    • Anthelmintic: A compound that kills helminths (worms), including roundworms, flukes and tapeworms.
    • Antiprotozoal: A compound with kills/reduces growth of protozoa.
    • Endectocide: parasiticides that are effective against both internal and external parasites.
    • Flukicide: A compound that kills flukes.
    • Insecticide: A compound that kills insects.
    • Ovicidal: A compound that destroys parasite eggs.
    • Parasiticide: A compound that kills parasites.
    • Resistance: the genetic ability of a parasite to survive dosing with the correct dose of a parasiticide drug and to pass this resistance on to its offspring. 
  • Commercially available parasiticides will belong to one of the following classes:
    • Macrocyclic lactones.
    • Benzimidazoles.
    • Imidazothiazoles.
    • Substituted phenols.
    • Piperazines.
    • Salicylanilides.
    • Synthetic pyrethroids.
    • Formamides.
    • Organophosphates.
    • Insect growth regulators.
    • Coccidiocides.
    • Trypanocides.
    • Miscellaneous.
  • Click here to view a table, summarising some of the drugs used to treat internal and external cattle parasites: Parasiticides: drug classes overview.
NB: There are many combination products available which will contain more than one parasiticide and as such will target more than one parasite species. Combination anthelmintic formulations may also be more effective in the presence of single or multiple drug resistance. Different classes of anthelmintics may work synergistically with one another to provide an enhanced efficacy against anthelmintic resistant worms. IMPORTANT: There are marked regional and national variations in both parasite fauna and the availability/claims/doses/withhold periods of parasiticides around the world. ALWAYS check the specific product information for the product you are administering and ensure that you comply with local rules. Examples given in this article may be correct for one country but rules may differ in other regions. 

The parasiticides

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Miscellaneous flukicides, antiprotozoals and trypanocides for cattle

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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Rose H, Rinaldi L, Bosco A, Mavrot F, de Waal T et al (2015) Widespread anthelmintic resistance in European farmed ruminants: a systematic review. Vet Rec 176 (21), 546 PubMed.
  • Charlier J, van der Voort M, Kenyon F, Skuce P & Vercruysse J (2014) Chasing helminths and their economic impact on farmed ruminants. Trends Parasitol 30 (7), 361-7 PubMed.
  • McArthur M J & Reinemeyer C R (2014) Herding the U.S. cattle industry toward a paradigm shift in parasite control. Vet Parasitol 204 (1-2), 34-43 PubMed.
  • Gasbarre L C (2014) Anthelmintic resistance in cattle nematodes in the US. Vet Parasitol 204 (1-2), 3-11 PubMed.
  • Bartram D J, Leathwick D M, Taylor M A, Geurden T & Maeder S J (2012) The role of combination anthelmintic formulations in the sustainable control of sheep nematodes. Vet Parasitol 186 (3-4), 151-8 PubMed.
  • Soderlund D M (2012) Molecular mechanisms of pyrethroid insecticide neurotoxicity: recent advances. Arch Toxicol 86 (2), 165-81 PubMed.
  • Sutherland I A & Leathwick D M (2011) Anthelmintic resistance in nematode parasites of cattle: a global issue? Trends Parasitol 27 (4), 176-81 PubMed.
  • Demeler J, Van Zeveren A M, Kleinschmidt N, Vercruysse J, Höglund J et al (2009) Monitoring the efficacy of ivermectin and albendazole against gastro intestinal nematodes of cattle in Northern Europe. Vet Parasitol 160 (1-2), 109-15 PubMed.
  • van Wyk J A, Hoste H, Kaplan R M & Besier R B (2006) Targeted selective treatment for worm management--how do we sell rational programs to farmers? Vet Parasitol 139 (4), 336-46 PubMed.
  • Vial H J & Gorenflot A (2006) Chemotherapy against babesiosis. Vet Parasitol 138 (1-2), pp 147-60.
  • van Wyk J A (2001) Refugia--overlooked as perhaps the most potent factor concerning the development of anthelmintic resistance. Onderstepoort J Vet Res 68 (1), 55-67 PubMed.
  • Hennessy D R (1993) Pharmacokinetic disposition of benzimidazole drugs in the ruminant gastrointestinal tract. Parasitol Today (9), 329-33 PubMed.
  • Martinez-Valladares et al. (2010).efficacy of nitroxinil against Fasciola hepatica resistant to traclabendazole in a naturally infected sheep flock. Parasitology Research 107 (5), 1205 – 1211.
  • Foil et al (2004) Factors that influence the prevalence of acaricide resistance and tick-borne diseases. Vet Para (125), 163-181.
  • Jonsson et al (2018) Molecular biology of amitraz resistance in cattle ticks of the genus Rhipicephalus. Front BioSci 1 (23), 796-810.
  • Baxter et al (1999) Detecting resistance to organophospahtes and carbamates in the cattle tick Boophilus microplus, with a propoxur-based biochemical test. Exp Appl Acarol 23, 907-14 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • (2017) PIPERAZINE. [online] Accessed at:
  • De Graef et al (2013) Anthelmintic resistance of gastrointestinal cattle nematodes. Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift. Review 113. Accessed at:
  • Blood D C & Studdert V P (1999) Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary. 2nd edn. Ed: Saunders W B.
  • Urquhart G Met al (1996) Veterinary parasitology. 2nd edn. Blackwell Science, UK.

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