Local livestock, horses, could be ‘very sick’ if Ivermectin shortage hits

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Despite multiple warnings from the FDA and the CDC about the usage of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, people are still continuing to use the anti-parasitic drug for the virus. Now, some are worried about the impact a shortage could have on horses and the livestock it’s intended for.

Cynthia MacFarlan is the executive director for the Therapeutic Riding of Tri-Cities (TROT), a Kennewick nonprofit that provides equine therapy for people with disabilities.

“The horses we have here at TROT are so imperative to our program. We need them to be happy and healthy horses because they have a very special job,” MacFarlan said. “Being a therapy horse isn’t for every horse, but if you can identify and train some horses to do that job, it’s very important.”

MacFarlan said because the horses have “people on their backs with disabilities and are all shapes, sizes, and ages, they have to be healthy.”

“If we can’t use a horse because it’s sick then our riders and our families go without services and we have to cut back on our classes,” MacFarlan said.

MacFarlan said she’s “concerned” about a possible Ivermectin shortage. Ranch and Home in Kennewick currently doesn’t have the drug on its shelves. Multiple signs posted warn customers about using it to treat COVID-19 in humans.

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“If the horses don’t get the medicine they need, they can have a buildup of parasites in their bodies. If we can’t deworm them from that, they can get weight loss, diarrhea, bloating, changes can occur in their hair, and they can even get colic,” MacFarlan said.

She added that horses normally get dewormed twice a year; once in the fall and once in the spring.

“We’re already concerned that we may have to share one of the tubes between two horses,” MacFarlan said. “I just hope people use the treatments that are out there and proven to be safe and effective for themselves and leave our horses that don’t have a choice to be healthy. We need to help them.”

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