Understanding Ivermectin For Horses

by Michelle Drum April 14, 2020 2 min read

Understanding Ivermectin For Horses

In the last few weeks, sales of Ivermectin have spiked across the country. Which means that Ivermectin, a common staple the equestrian community has used for years, has become a very hot topic.

People have been asking us questions about it, and because we are not experts, we reached out to our friend Dr. Rich Metcalf, DVM of the Tryon Equine Hospital, to learn more about what it is, why it is so important and how to use it properly on your horse.

What is Ivermectin?

Ivermectin is used to treat a broad spectrum of nematode and arthropod parasites. At the appropriate dose, Ivermectin is generally considered safe for the horse. Ivermectin works by disturbing the neurotransmission in the parasite resulting in paralysis and death of the parasite.

What is Ivermectin used for?

Specifically, Ivermectin is regularly used to treat large strongyles, small strongyles, roundworms (parascaris), pinworms, bots, summer sores caused by habronema, intestinal threadworms, lungworms, and external parasites such as lice, mites, ticks and the skin-dwelling larvae of Onchocerca.

How do I know if my horse needs Ivermectin or not?

My recommendation is that Ivermectin should be used at the advice of your veterinarian.

How often do I need to use Ivermectin?

Depending on what you're trying to treat, your veterinarian will likely recommend a fecal test to determine how often your horse should be treated with Ivermectin.

How much do I use?

Ivermectin should be used based on weight. On the farm, we use a weight tape to determine the horses’ weight.

Other deworming options?

There are other deworming options, but I would consult with your veterinarian to determine which deworming product(s) is appropriate for your horse. Some deworming products aren’t effective anymore or have serious side effects if not given appropriately.

My recommendation is that the horse Ivermectin formulas be used for horses only. There are other formulations that are used for other animals.

For more information about Ivermectin and how it should be used, please check out these great articles: 

The Horse: Don't Take Your Horse's Dewormer: Ivermectin, Unproven Treatment For COVID19
Ivermectin - Unproven as Treatment for COVID-19

By Dr. Rich Metcalf, DVMTryon Equine Hospital

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