West Point animal hospital can’t get more ivermectin because too many people are taking anti-parasite drug for COVID-19
WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – Dr. Karen Emerson with Emerson Animal Hospital in West Point says they haven’t been able to order ivermectin for two weeks because people are improperly using it to treat COVID-19.
“Not only are you hurting animals, getting the medication they need by you buying it and taking it,” she says. “You’re also harming yourself with potentially hazardous effects.”
The Mississippi State Health Department issued another warning Monday cautioning people not to take the livestock drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
The Mississippi Poison Control Center says it has gotten at least two reports of people going to the hospital after taking the animal medication.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned against using ivermectin to treat COVID back in March.
“The hypotension, the diarrhea, the vomiting, the sudden death, the liver damage, those are all very critical things that can happen to you,” Dr. Emerson says.
The Poison Control Center says it’s been getting increased calls and at least 70 percent are related to people taking ivermectin. Dr. Emerson says she has just one 15 milliliter bottle left.
“It’s a very big, necessary drug in veterinary medicine and unfortunately, right now we are unable to get the drug because of all the human consumption of ivermectin,” she says.
If the misuse of ivermectin continues, Dr. Emerson says more and more pets will have to suffer longer.
“Some animals are just not going to be treated,” she says. “Because there’s not a lot of other drugs out there, especially for these little bitty hamsters and rats and rabbits and guinea pigs.”
She says the beef industry could even be affected.
“That is what they use to treat internal parasites in cattle and what do we do we eat cattle. We have to keep our cattle healthy we have to keep the food supply the chain going, and ivermectin is a drug that we use.”
Instead of ivermectin, Dr. Emerson recommends something safer that is FDA approved.
“If you have COVID, or you’re scared of getting COVID, get vaccinated,” she says. “It’s a lot safer than going and taking an unapproved animal product that we use in veterinary medicine.”
There is a version of ivermectin approved for human use to treat intestinal complications but it requires doctor approval. Neither the human version of ivermectin nor the animal dose are approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19.