Scientific Name: ivermectin
Brand names include ivomec and noromectin
Ivermectin is an injectable solution with a broad spectrum of activity against internal and external parasites that live on or in mammals and birds. It is effective against some external parasites such as scaly face and leg mites, northern fowl mites, red mites, ticks, and lice. It also works against certain types of internal parasites such as 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. Some come in a 1% solution for large pet bird species like the macaw and African gray, and others come in 0.1% solution for small birds such as canaries and finches. However, If you don’t have access to the ivermectin preparation for birds then you can use the injectable 1% solution for cattle.
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 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 you feel that topical application is not practical, you can mix the ivermectin solution with drinking water (1ml per 1 liter of water). However, this method is less effective than topical use since the ivermectin precipitates when mixed with water.
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.
- Gouldian finches and zebra 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