A Maple Ridge veterinarian has been forced to be careful in selling livestock dewormer, for fear misguided people will take it as an unproven COVID-19 medication.
The drug Ivermectin is normally an over-the-counter product for animals, but Dr. Adrian Walton of Dewdney Animal Hospital is cautious about who can have it, because they could cause themselves harm by taking it.
“We had somebody get mad when I wouldn’t give it to him,” said Walton. He explained the would-be customer was not a regular client, and was not known to have livestock, and “the answer was a very strong no.”
“It’s not an over-the-counter drug for humans,” said Walton. “It’s a pig dewormer.”
Like Hydroxychloroquine last year, Ivermectin is being promoted on some social media sites as a silver bullet against the pandemic. Some news media outlets in the U.S. have talked it up, despite a lack of evidence.
Walton said local feed stores have taken it off the shelves, so Maple Ridge people looking for it are turning to vets.
While a form of Ivermectin that is safe for human consumption exists, it is not approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. Taking large doses is also dangerous since Ivermectin used for livestock is dosed much higher than when it’s used for humans. Overdosing on Ivermectin can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, problems with balance, seizures coma and even death.
Walton said there are published reports from the U.S. of people overdosing on the drug, and then calling poison control because “they feel terrible after taking it.”
On Tuesday, Health Canada issued a public advisory against using the dewormer, saying it had received concerning reports of the use of veterinary ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19.
“Canadians should never consume health products intended for animals because of the potential serious health dangers posed by them,” the advisory reads.
It’s a head-shaker for Walton, who puts his faith in the vaccines that have been developed, tested and administered worldwide. He can’t believe people who are reluctant to trust COVID-19 vaccines would instead put their faith in a drug that is only approved for animals, based on premature hype.
“You call people who take the vaccine sheep, but you’re willing to take a dewormer for sheep,” he laughed.
“Listen to Dr. (Bonnie) Henry. Listen to your doctor. Stop listening to Fox News.”
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