'Not for Humans': Store Says Shoppers Wanting Ivermectin Must Prove They Have Horse

Looking to purchase Ivermectin? Better own a horse, one store in Nevada has declared.

Ivermectin has significantly grown in popularity as an "alternative" treatment for COVID-19 among the vaccine-hesitant, despite the lack of scientific data on its efficacy. While a version of the anti-parasitic drug exists for humans, the recent surge in sales has seen many turning to the versions made for livestock, notably including horses and sheep. These doses, the FDA has warned, are prepared differently and can be dangerous when taken by humans.

With shortages of the deworming drug looming, a feed store in Las Vegas has taken a step to try and prevent people from buying up horse Ivermectin to use on themselves. According to store associate Shelly Smith, customers looking to buy the drug at V & V Tack and Feed will now be required to show a photograph of their horse.

horse ivermectin las vegas
A Las Vegas feed store now requires customers to prove their horse ownership when buying Ivermectin. In this photo, a health worker in Cali, Colombia, holds a bottle of Ivermectin formulated for human consumption. Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

"I don't want people taking Ivermectin horse wormer because it's horse wormer," Smith told local news station KTNV. "You need to prove to me that you have a horse in order for me to sell you this product because you should not be taking this product. This is not for humans to take. This is to treat parasites in horses."

Smith said that the store initially put up a warning sign by the livestock drug once it became apparent that customers were buying it to take themselves. As demand escalated from that point, it was decided to implement the photo rule.

"The first sign came about several months ago when you started seeing articles about Ivermectin treating COVID," Smith explained. "So when I was ordering my Ivermectin, I noticed our distributors had that [warning], so I figured let me hang one too just to let people know, 'Do not take this.'"

Smith also told a story about an older customer who had come into the store looking for Ivermectin to treat COVID. Despite Smith's warnings, the man said that he and his wife had been taking the drug for some time and had experienced no side effects besides not be able to "see in the morning."

"That's a big side effect, so you probably shouldn't take it," Smith said in response.

Despite some trials looking into Ivermectin for use against mild cases of COVID-19, the FDA stressed that the drug has not been approved for that use. The agency said in a statement that the human formulation of the drug is not anti-viral and can be dangerous in large doses. As for the livestock variations, the FDA added that "animal drugs are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which can weigh a lot more than we do—a ton or more. Such high doses can be highly toxic in humans."