Occasionally, I hear from pet skunk owners who ask if it is ok to use horse paste de-wormers on skunks to save money. Horse paste de-wormers are not a good idea for several reasons. The first reason is that the product is extremely concentrated and 1 tube is the dose for an average horse who is approximately 150 times the size of a skunk. This makes accurate dosing for a small animal impossible so the owner usually just guesses at a dose. If the product is Strongid (Pyrantel Pomoate), it is difficult to overdose and less likely to hurt the skunk. If the owner is using Panacur (Fenbendazole) or Ivermectin, it is extremely important to dose correctly as the results may be fatal!
After consulting with veterinarians, there are other concerns mentioned regarding horse paste de-wormers like that the active drug is not evenly distributed throughout the paste. This means that even if one could compute an accurate dosage, there may be little to none of the active ingredient or way too much. Who wants to play Russian Roulette with a beloved pet? The last concern mentioned to me is for those willing to do the math, the horse’s dosage per pound is based on a much different digestive system than a skunk has so it is not relevant.
I know there are many people comfortable using horse de-wormers for skunks but I do not believe it is in their best interests. I definitely do not recommend using any Panacur (Fenbendazole) or Ivermectin products unless specifically dosed for the skunk or the dosage of a dog of the same weight. Panacur C granules or suspension can be bought in larger sizes and dosed by your Veterinarian to save money without the above risks.