Funny if it wasn't so serious

Over the last few weeks there have been articles in The New York Times and other media covering the use of ivermectin by some people to prevent or treat Covid-19 despite no medical evidence of efficacy and plenty of evidence of negative side effects.

It has become such a concern recently that in late August the United States' Food & Drug Administration tweeted out a plea to citizens to stop consuming the antiparasitic mostly used in veterinary medicine.

Farm supply retailers with licenses to sell ivermectin have responded in several ways, from increasing prices on a product so obviously in demand, to demanding to see a picture of the purchaser with their horse to prove the drug will be used as per the instructions on the label.

To say that the administration advice available on social media to wannabe human consumers of the veterinary doses falls short of professional standards would be an understatement. Below is a example of one Q&A interaction. The mind boggles.

Two things strike us as we analyse this story; we would love to see similar bemusement and disbelief at the use in animals of drugs which are vitally important to human medicine (HP CIAs), and secondly, where is the oversight of veterinary medicine to monitor and track purchase AND usage. While it might be amusing to see the US FDA ask people to remember they are not, in fact, a horse, from reading the article the problem seemed to creep up on ranchers, vets and pet owners amid anecdotes and speculation.

This is not an ideal situation.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not just about the use of antibiotics, but about antivirals and anthelmintics such as ivermectin also. These powerful drugs are dangerous when misused, abused and overused. Their intended targets can learn to evade them, becoming resistant and therefore reducing treatment options for doctors and vets in genuine cases. Reducing the effective medicines available can lead to animal welfare issues. These are not some unintended consequences; we've been warned. Time and time again.

The move in the EU from Jan 28th next to move ivermectin and other antiparasitics and anthelmintics to prescription only will be a positive step in improving governmental oversight of the animal pharmaceutical industry.

To find out more about the upcoming rule changes, contact VirtualVet today:

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