Some Canberra equine vets have been hit with supply issues of vital horse medication due to some people using the drug as a possible cure for COVID.
Vets near the capital have been forced to wait for months to receive shipments of ivermectin, which is used to treat parasites in horses as well as other animals.
While ivermectin has not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a COVID treatment, the drug has been wrongly touted as a cure for COVID symptoms in some online circles.
It comes amid a large increase in people in Australia importing the drug from overseas, leading to warnings from medical regulators.
Allie Corripio from Brindabella Equine Mobile Veterinary Service said normally orders of ivermectin arriving in Canberra from Sydney would take about one day to arrive. Her last order took more than two months to get to her.
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"It has been disrupting the supply and interfering with what sort of treatments that we can offer patients," Dr Corripio said.
"If we're not able to give the horses the best standard of treatment, we would have to go with other alternatives."
Dr Corripio said she normally ordered ivermectin three or four times a year from suppliers in NSW, but said the most recent shipment took the longest to arrive.
"Hopefully the situation will subside," she said.
Ivermectin is used predominantly as a worming treatment for horses, but it can also be sold in a tablet form for human use to treat parasitic infections such as roundworm and scabies.
The TGA on Friday placed new retractions on oral ivermectin medication due to the demand, with GPs now only able to prescribe the treatment for approved conditions.
The spike in demand for ivermectin has extended to doses intended for humans and horses, which has put people's lives at risk.
Earlier this month, a western Sydney man was admitted to Westmead Hospital after overdosing on ivermectin.
ACT health authorities have previously said no such admissions have presented at Canberra hospitals.
Warnings against ivermectin being used have been issued in the US, with Mississippi's health department stating more than 70 per cent of calls to its poison centre were related to ivermectin.
Dr Corripio said many in Canberra's equine community have reacted in disbelief that people would want to ingest medicine intended for horses.
"It's a bit stupid and unbelievable that people are doing this," she said.
"The amount you would have to ingest to remove worms in horses is enough to kill humans, you would have to be stupid to do it."
The surge in demand for ivermectin prompted the Therapeutic Goods Administration to issue a warning for people not take unproven treatments.
"There is insufficient evidence to validate the use of ivermectin in patients with COVID," an administration spokesman said.
"Ivermectin is indicated in the management and treatment of infections caused by parasites, such as mites and worms.
"Antiviral efficacy against COVID and improvement to clinical outcomes from ivermectin have not been proven."
The US Food and Drug Administration has also been forced to tell the public not to take medicine intended for animals due to overdose rates in the country.
"You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the administration said in a tweet.
The rising number of ivermectin incidents has also prompted concern from the Australian Veterinary Association.
The association's head of veterinary and public affairs Dr Cristy Secombe said there were alternative products that vets could use.
"Taking a drug intended for animals can make you seriously ill and be potentially life-threatening. If you are worried about COVID, please talk to your doctor," Dr Secombe said.
"Large animal drugs are often concentrated because they are used in species that weigh a lot more than humans do. You should never use medications for animals on yourself."
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