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The rush for ivermectin has 'strained the equine and livestock world'

·2 min read
Cow.
Cow. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

All this talk of ivermectin isn't coming at a detriment to humans alone — it could leave vulnerable animals without the proper medicine needed for care, as veterinarians, ranchers, and farmers contend with surging public demand, The New York Times reports.

"I really think that's why we have a shortage, because so many people are using it," said Dr. Karen Emerson, a veternarian based in Mississippi. A common animal dewormer, ivermectin has emerged as an ill-informed method of warding off or battling COVID-19 in humans, writes the Times. Certain formulations of the drug can reportedly treat head lice and other ailments in people — but the FDA has warned Americans to otherwise leave the drug alone.

Still, the increase in demand has "strained the equine and livestock world," writes the Times. Some farm owners, ranchers, and vets have been forced to switch to generic or more expensive alternatives, while others have used "expired ivermectin or quietly stockpiled the drug when they could." But many, said the Times, are just alarmed.

Marc Fillion, a farmowner from South Carolina who uses ivermectin for his livestock, told the Times he is "pretty worried." He said, for instance, not treating young pigs with the medicine could have ultimately fatal consequences. And one Las Vegas animal supply store, for its part, is asking customers to show a photo of themselves with their horse in order to purchase the drug.

Such experiences "underscore the real-world effects of misinformation and how far the fallout can spread," Kolina Koltai, a conspirary theory researcher at the University of Washington, told the Times.

"It doesn't just affect the communities that believe in misinformation," she said. "This is something that's affecting even people who don't have a stake in the vaccine — it's affecting horses." Read more at The New York Times.

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