Cervid Parasite Control

Michael McDonnell Ph.D

The following is a review of the literature on cervid parasite control with research insights from the drug manufactures. As most all parasite control in cervids is extra-label drug usage, the veterinarian will need to write a script for the drug to be used in cervids. This paper is designed to be an aid for the veterinarian in determining drug dose, and withdrawal time. It shows what other countries recommend, but the FDA has not made an official recommendation. The first part of the paper will cover Nematodes (worms), the second part will cover Protozoa, and the third part will cover Flukes.

This information is for the veterinarian (not the producer), to aid in making extra-label recommendations.

It is not a recommendation to producers!

When deworming, it is best to alternate between dewormers. This means using a different family of dewormer. Using a different product from within a family has minimal benefit.

PART ONE: Nematodes (worms)

Most dewormers are used at 1.5-2 X the beef dosage. This is due to the faster liver metabolism of anthelmintics by cervids and browsers. This faster metabolism may explain why longer withdrawal times are not required.



Fenbendazole (Safegaurd, Panacur) is effective against abomasal, intestinal and lung nematodes. Feed and suspension at 7.5 to 10 mg/kg. It may work better if fed over 3 to 6 days. ( Beef dosage is 5 mg/kg) Withdrawal time in New Zealand is 21 days for Panacure, 14 days for Safegaurd.

Albenazole (Valbazen) should not be used during the first 45 days of pregnancy to prevent genetic defects (Cyclops). Dosage level for deer is 15 – 25 mg/kg. It does treat for flukes including mature Deer Flukes. Withdarawal time in New Zealand is 7 days and 27 days in Canada.  Valbazen does not seem to deworm Fallow Deer at 7.5 mg/kg.

Oxfendazole (Synanthic) works for deer at 4.5 mg/kg with a 10 day withdrawal in New Zealand. Do not use at same time as Bromosalans fluke drench. Safe for pregnant animas at recommended level, abortions at 4.5 X level.



Ivermectian (Ivomec) injectable is 200 to 400 ug/kg, while pour on is 500-1000 ug.kg. Withdrawal on pour on at 500 ug/kg in New Zealand is 28 days with no cleared withdrawal time for 1000 ug/kg. Withdrawal time for injectable Ivomec in New Zealand is not reported but should be longer than for pour on. There should be a mild subcutaneous reaction to injected Ivomec. Persistence for pour on against lung worms of 21-28 days.

Feed grade Ivomec has been used on fighting bulls in Spain at 100 micrograms/kg/day for 7 days with good results. (this was using swine premix. May not be legal in any extra label use in USA). Putting injectable Ivomec on the feed has worked for wild bighorn sheep. Multiple day feeding seems to work better than a single dose.

Ivomec seems to prevent meningeal worms in whitetail deer. If these worms are a problem, do not use Ivomec during meningeal larval migration as damage to nerve tissue may occur due to dead larvae.

Eprinomectin (Eprinex) is a pour on to be used at 500 ug/kg (500 mcg/kg.) Persistence for lung worms is 21 days, horn flies 7 days. New Zealand withdrawal times for deer are 14 days.

Doramectin (Decotmax) is used at 500 ug/kg in cattle. 750 ug/kg for deer is estimated as the correct level for injectable. Unknown withdrawal time for deer. Pfizer does not recommend pour-on.

Moxidectin (Cydectin) A pour-on used at .5 mg/kg (500 ug/kg). Persistence against lung worms of 35-42 days. New Zealand withdrawal time of 21 days, Australia was 7 days. Weaning calves may need 25%-33% greater dose than adults.



Febantel (Rintal by Bayer) Used in New Zealand orally at 7.5 mg/kg with a withdrawal time of 21 days. Plasma levels were undetectable at 30 hours. Not available in USA. Was called Cutter Horse wormer prior to being discontinued.

Levasol (Tramisol) has not been reported as effective on deer

Morantel Tartrate (Rumental) don’t use with Pyantel or Levamosole, Piperazine.

Pyrantel Pamoate (Strongid Paste, Rotectin-P) feed grade at 5 X horse level.



Grazing Chicory may reduce the need to deworm weaned Red Deer in New Zealand. Weaners grazing chicory had 18% less nematodes than weaners grazing pasture. Dewormed, chicory grazed deer, grew 1.5 X the rate of deer on pasture.

Feeding the nematode-trapping fungus spores of Duddingtonia Flagrans kills the nematode larvae in the feces. ( JAS Vol. 80: supp 1: p144 abstract #577)

Garlic inhibits eggs from developing into larvae. It is useful only for small herds. As garlic does not kill nematodes, it must be fed for long periods of time. As deer and elk are picky eaters, garlic may pose a problem.

Wormwood common Mugwort works well, except if used regularly or excessively it kills the host (the deer).

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) fed at 2% of the ration works on some worms, but not on lung-worms. The worms must be in the intestinal tract for DE to be effective. DE works by the rough texture of the DE scratching the worm and causing fluid leakage.

Surfactants such as Shaklee’s Basic H have been used successfully. Although the chemical content is a trade secret, it does contain two soybean enzymes. Dosage is one cup of Basic H in 100 gallons of water. This is the only water they should have access to for at least 2 days. Repeat 6 times a year.

Copper Sulfate is a pain to use and should be avoided. It requires holding the animal off feed at least overnight and drenching in the morning with copper sulfate. To avoid poisoning, a second drench with castor oil is required 30 minutes after drenching with copper sulfate.




Decconiate (Deccox): Feed grade can be used under Minor Species Act at the recommended beef level. It should be used as a preventative. There are no withdrawal times for Deccox.

Amprolium (Corrid, Amprol): Use recommended beef levels. Avoid over dosing as it can result in brain destruction. (over dosing with amprolium is how one makes ‘brainers’ for research).


Albenazole (Valbazen) dosage level for deer is 15-25 mg/kg. It does treat for Flukes, including mature deer flukes. Withdrawal time in New Zealand is 7 days and 27 days in Canada.

Clorsulon (Curatem, Ivomec Plus): Ivomec Plus does not have an adequate amount of clorsulon to be effective against deer flukes.

Copper Sulfate will kill the snail in the water and break the fluke cycle. If you have small water areas, this may be the preferred fluke control method.

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