MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – If you’re looking to get your hands on ivermectin amid claims the drug will treat or even cure COVID-19, a B.C. vet is telling you not to contact him.
Dr. Adrian Walton, the owner and lead veterinarian at Dewdney Animal Hospital in Maple Ridge, says his practice has been getting more calls and emails lately about the deworming treatment for animals.
“Strangely enough, we keep getting emails from people who are not our clients who when we ask them if they do have livestock refuse to answer. So we refuse to sell it to them,” he explained. “Then, of course, they proceed to tell me how it’s over-the-counter and I tell them, ‘That doesn’t matter, I don’t have to bring it in to sell it to you, so go somewhere else.'”
He says they’ve gotten about three inquiries in the past week, and a few before that, adding “it just suddenly blew up.”
In recent weeks, there have been reports of people snapping up ivermectin at animal feed stores in the U.S., falsely believing it’s a COVID-19 cure. Some experts say it shows how ideology can lead people to embrace misinformation.
As more people seek out ivermectin, health officials in both Canada and the U.S. have been forced to put out warnings, urging people not to use the drug as a means to deal with COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Health Canada issued an advisory 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.
#ADVISORY: #Canadians should never consume veterinary products because of potential serious risks to health. Ivermectin, an antiparasitic agent, has not been approved for use against #COVID19 and may cause serious health problems. https://t.co/iOBtKgBIfV
— Health Canada and PHAC (@GovCanHealth) August 31, 2021
That message is being echoed by Walton.
“This stuff is formulated for animals. It is not formulated for people. It’s not tested on people. Nobody should be taking any drug for animals for personal use,” Walton said.
While there is a human version of ivermectin used to treat parasites in people, there’s no evidence it does anything for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Health Canada points out the vet version of the drug is highly concentrated and can be dangerous for humans, causing vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, seizures, coma, and even death.
Health Canada’s warning notes it’s aware of multiple reports in the U.S. of patients needing medical support or hospitalization after using ivermectin intended for horses.
The advisory came just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration re-shared a similar notice, saying, “There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. That is wrong.”