(for veterinary information only)
BRAND NAME: TAMIFLU
Viruses are responsible for Herpes, Influenza, HIV, the Common Cold and numerous other infections with which we are familiar. It has only been relatively recently that we have had the technology to attack viral biology. Oseltamivir represents such an effort.
Recently, veterinary interest has turned to oseltamivir in the treatment of Canine Parvovirus, a life-threatening infection characterized by vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Because the parvovirus does not use neuraminidase in its replication, one might not expect oseltamavir to have value but it turns out that neuraminidase is an important enzyme used by pathogenic bacteria invading through the protective mucous barrier of the GI tract. Invasion of intestinal bacteria into the bloodstream is an important cause of death in parvoviral infection and this is where oseltamavir appears to be helpful though there is still controversy surrounding its use.
HOW THIS MEDICATION IS USED
To assist in the treatment of canine parvovirus infection, oseltamivir is given orally twice a day for 5 days. The medication should be obtained as soon as the parvovirus diagnosis is confirmed. If a puppy has been exposed to canine parvovirus but is not ill often the clinical disease can be circumvented by giving a course of oseltamivir.
Usually an oral suspension is compounded or the human product is given. There has been interest in using oseltamivir for canine influenza infection. Canine influenza is rarely diagnosed early enough in the course of infection for oseltamivir to be of use but it could be useful in preventing infection in exposed dogs.
Oseltamivir is not approved for use in animals and there is some controversy with regard to its use in animals (see Concerns and Cautions below).
In pets, side effects have not been appreciated; however, veterinary experience is limited but the following is taken from human patient information sheets on oseltamivir:
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or healthcare professional as soon as possible:
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
We include this information as general information but if you are using oseltamivir on a pet and think you may be seeing indications of any of the above, report them to your veterinarian.
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS
Oseltamivir can interfere with concurrent influenza vaccinations administration.
CONCERNS AND CAUTIONS
The most important caution is to recognize that canine parvovirus is a life-threatening infection for which there is no substitute for hospitalization. One should never attempt to diagnose parvovirus infection on one's own nor treat it without veterinary supervision. Puppies that have advanced parvo symptoms (such as septicemia or severe dehydration) may not respond to oseltamivir. This medication works best early in the course of infection before the patient is already combating large amounts of infectious organisms. If pathogenic bacteria have already invaded, the effectiveness of oseltamavir will be blunted..
Reconstituted oseltamivir does not last longer than 10 days and must be disposed of thereafter.
If a patient seems to have an upset stomach on oseltamivir, this effect can be mitigated by giving the medication with food.
There has been some interest in using oseltamivir in infections other than parvovirus such as Canine Influenza, Canine Distemper, or even Kennel Cough. It is important to consider that human influenza is a significant disease with potential to cause human death under certain circumstances. Unnecessary use of anti-viral medications leads to resistance within the influenza virus population so it is important that medications such as oseltamivir not be used for infections which are not life-threatening in nature or which are likely to resolve with routine supportive care.
For more details on canine parvovirus, see the Parvovirus Information Center on this site.
Page last updated: 9/2/2016