Scientific Name: Ivermectin, Brand names include: Ivomec and Noromectin
Ivermectin is a highly effective injectable solution that has a broad spectrum of activity against both external and internal parasites that affect mammals and birds. This medication is particularly useful for combating common external parasites, including scaly face and leg mites, northern fowl mites, red mites, ticks, and lice. Additionally, it is highly effective against a variety of internal parasites, including air sac mites, microfilariae, roundworms, and gapeworms.
Ivermectin for birds
Ivermectin is generally safe to use on birds such as pigeons, canaries, budgies, goldfinches, and others. There are many topical products available on the markets made for birds. For instance, some are formulated in a 1% solution for larger pet bird species such as macaws and African greys, while others are available in a 0.1% solution for smaller birds like canaries and finches.
If you cannot find an ivermectin preparation specifically made for birds, you may be able to use the injectable 1% solution intended for cattle. However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian or a bird specialist before administering ivermectin to your bird. They can provide guidance on proper dosages and the potential risks and side effects associated with using a cattle product on birds. It is also essential to carefully follow the instructions for diluting the solution and administering it to the bird.
Generally, the injectable solution can be used directly on the skin by applying one or two or more drops depending on the type of bird, its size, or its weight. The correct dose is applied directly to the skin of the chest, neck, shoulders, thighs, or any area covered by skin.
However, the best area of skin to drip ivermectin on is the jugular vein (the veins in the neck), and if the bird suffers from air sac mites, using ivermectin topically onto the scapula (shoulder blade) is the most effective method and area of skin to combat them.
Topical application is effective as the skin absorbs the solution very quickly. For most birds, the dose should be repeated after two weeks for most birds. But follow the package directions or your vet’s instructions.
How to use Ivermectin for birds with water?
If you have a large number of birds and feel that topical application is not practical, you can mix the ivermectin solution with drinking water. The recommended dosage is 1 ml per liter of water, which is suitable for small birds such as canaries. However, keep in mind that this method is less effective than topical use, as the ivermectin can precipitate when mixed with water. Additionally, birds may not consume the medicated water in sufficient quantities to receive the proper dosage, so it is important to monitor their water intake and health closely when using this method.
The tropical method is preferable, but if you decide to use ivermectin with water, remove the bird’s drinkers at night, and in the early morning return them after adding the ivermectin solution with drinking water. Birds will be thirsty and drink the solution immediately before it precipitates. Shake the solution well with water before serving and shake the drinkers during the day whenever you can. At the end of the day, dispose of the mixture and replace it with water.
Notes and warnings
- Ivermectin stays in the body tissues for a long time (between 6 to 12 months), and using it frequently or excessively and not adhering to the prescribed doses may lead to toxicity, depression, and nervous system problems.
- Zebra and Gouldian finches are sensitive to ivermectin and more susceptible to toxicity from it, so the dose should be reduced for these types of birds compared to the dosage of canaries.
- Ivermectin isn’t effective against fleas
- Overdosage may result in death.
- This medicine is for veterinary use only.
- Consult your veterinarian before use.
Reviewed by Dr. Wael Abu-Hmoud