Ivermectin — commonly used to treat heart worms in domestic dogs and cats and parasites in cattle, horse and hogs — is available from most veterinary offices and vet suppliers, but most of them will not sell it to just anyone. So is there a shortage of the treatment, but it appears to be isolated to certain areas of the state.
“It just seems like a bad idea to start trying to take cow drugs to treat or prevent a viral infection,” Meghan Holscher Bilyeu, office manager at Airport Veterinary clinic in Terre Haute, said.
The drug is approved for use on humans for the treatment of parasites, like roundworms, hookworms and lice. It is said to be in short supply in west central Indiana, including the Terre Haute area.
“There is a shortage of Ivermectin,” Holscher Bilyeu said. “Right now, it is mainly affecting livestock producers. We are seeing all of these things on Facebook and social media where people are treating themselves for COVID with Ivermectin.”
She says people using the drug as a COVID-19 treatment are reducing the supply for its labeled purpose, which she believes could hurt the meat supply if the practice is not halted.
“If these producers are not able to get their hands on preventive treatment that they need for the animals, there may be some issues where they can’t take their animals to market,” Holscher Bilyeu said.
WISH-TV is told the supply of Ivermectin in central Indiana is stable, and that farmers are not bringing untreated cattle and hogs to market early.
“We have had a couple of individuals some people who are not even clients ask to pick some up,” Holscher Bilyeu said. “Sorry folks, can’t help you with that.”
The veterinary supply industry and many vets are self-policing the sale of the drug. Many veterinarians WISH-TV talked to will sell it if there is an existing relationship. Many retailers will ask for proof it is being used on an animal and not a person.
It is important to note that Ivermectin is not approved in any formation for the treatment of COVID-19. There have been reports of people taking the drug and suffering ill consequences.