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Laboratory and field studies to investigate the efficacy of a novel, orally administered combination product containing moxidectin, sarolaner and pyrantel for the prevention of heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis) in dogs

Kryda, Kristina, Six, Robert H., Walsh, Kelly F., Holzmer, Susan J., Chapin, Sara, Mahabir, Sean P., Myers, Melanie, Inskeep, Tammy, Rugg, Jady, Cundiff, Blair, Pullins, Aleah, Ulrich, Michael, McCall, John W., McTier, Tom L., Maeder, Steven J.
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 445
Dirofilaria immitis, adults, antigens, dirofilariasis, dog diseases, dogs, heartworms, ivermectin, larvae, moxidectin, necropsy, oral administration, pyrantel, valleys, veterinary clinics, United States
BACKGROUND: Dirofilaria immitis is a filarial parasite of dogs that can cause serious or fatal cardiopulmonary disease. Three studies were conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of monthly treatment with moxidectin in a chewable tablet product in combination with sarolaner and pyrantel to prevent heartworm disease in dogs after experimental challenge and in a clinical field study in the USA. METHODS: In two laboratory studies, dogs (8 per group) that had been inoculated 30 days prior with 50 third-stage D. immitis larvae were randomized to treatment on Day 0 with placebo or combination product, at the minimum dose of 24 µg/kg moxidectin, 2 mg/kg sarolaner and 5 mg/kg pyrantel (as pamoate salt). Study 2 also included groups treated with tablets containing moxidectin-alone (24 µg/kg) or sarolaner-alone (2 mg/kg). Efficacy was evaluated ~ 5 months after inoculation by adult heartworm counts at necropsy. In the field study, 410 dogs ≥ 8 weeks-old from 23 USA veterinary clinics were treated for 11 months with either combination product at 24–48 µg/kg moxidectin, 2–4 mg/kg sarolaner and 5–10 mg/kg pyrantel (n = 272) or Heartgard® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) at the label recommended dose rate (n = 138). Efficacy was evaluated on Day 330 using antigen and microfilaria testing to assess adult heartworm infection. RESULTS: In the laboratory studies, there were no heartworms recovered from any dog treated with the combination product or moxidectin alone and all dogs treated with placebo or sarolaner-alone were infected with 20–44 adult heartworms. In the field study, all dogs treated with the combination product tested negative for heartworm infection on Day 330, whereas two dogs treated with Heartgard® Plus tested positive. The Heartgard® Plus-treated dogs that tested heartworm positive were from the lower Mississippi River Valley region, where heartworm resistance has been confirmed to occur. The combination product was well tolerated in all studies. CONCLUSIONS: In laboratory studies, no heartworms were recovered from dogs treated with a single dose of the novel combination product containing moxidectin, sarolaner and pyrantel. Additionally, in the field study no dog tested positive for adult heartworm infection when dosed with the combination product monthly for 11 months, while two dogs treated with Heartgard® Plus tested positive.