Verm-X Herbal Parasite Control: No Real Evidence to Show it is Safe or Effective

I was recently asked by a reader to take a look at a product that had been recommended for deworming their dog, Verm-X. Unfortunately, there is little I can say about this product since, as is all too often the case, the manufacturer manages to make a good living selling it without having to generate any scientific information about the effectiveness or safety of the product. There are, as usual, many classic signs of snake oil:

Broad claims of efficacy and safety given without evidence.

A “kitchen sink” combination of ingredients with no research evidence on the combination and little to no evidence supporting use of the individual components.

Vague references to scientific validation with no actual published studies.

Reliance on testimonials to convince potential customers.

What Is It?
The company web site lists the ingredients for the dog product as:

Ingredients include: Allum sativum [garlic, should be allium];

Cinnamomum zelandicum [cinnamon, should be zeylanicum]

Mentha piperita [peppermint]

Thymus vulgaris [thyme]

Galium aperine [herb with various names]

Capsicum minimum [cayenne pepper]

Brown Rice, Poultry Meal, Refined Chicken Fat, Beet Pulp, Potato, Potato Starch, Verm-X Canine Blend, Brewers Yeast, Chicken Liver, Salmon Oil, Seaweed, Green Tea Extract, Prebiotic FOS, Prebiotic MOS, Minerals and Vitamins.

Though I haven’t gone through every one of their products, the herbal components appear to be the same for all species, with some differences in the other ingredients (flavors, vitamins, etc)

Does It Work?
As is so often the case with these unregulated concoctions, the bottom line answer is “who knows?” Apart from the garlic, which has been demonstrated to be ineffective as a flea control product and can cause an oxidative anemia in dogs and cats, I was able to find no published evidence concerning the safety and effectiveness of these ingredients, nor the combination, as parasite control. One of the company sites does say, “ Successful trials at Plumpton College, West Sussex have been carried out on its action as repellent of internal parasites.” I have not been able to locate any such studies in any directory of published research or on the company sites.

As usual with such products, the absence of evidence probably is evidence of absence, since any convincing scientific research support would be an invaluable marketing tool. The company has been fined in New Zealand for unsupported medical claims about its product, but enforcement of what little regulation there is for veterinary herbal products in the U.S. is virtually non-existent, so no proof of any sort is likely to be required here.

Bottom Line
With a hodgepodge of unproven herbal ingredients, no apparent research evidence to show the product is safe or effective, and a number of warning signs, I would not recommend this product. Available conventional parasite products have abundant research evidence of safety and efficacy and are a better choice.

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5 Responses to Verm-X Herbal Parasite Control: No Real Evidence to Show it is Safe or Effective

  1. zyrcona says:

    Thanks for writing this post. 🙂 I’m glad someone else thinks it looks like snake oil too. I was having trouble finding any objective evaluations of it, so now hopefully your blog post will show up on search engines when people look for information about it.

  2. Peter says:

    The usual sort of spiel. Quite how they expect to eradicate the use of chemicals I don’t know. But they appear to have discovered “natural ingredients” that are NOT made of chemicals. Ectoplasm maybe?

    “Our valued clients encourage us in our drive to eradicate the use of chemicals. Before pharmaceutical formulations intervened there were only natural ingredients. We are doing nothing new. We are purely offering animal keepers the opportunity to use an approach that has stood the test of time – a far longer time than since the introduction of man-made alternatives. We recently issued a press release that shows how the Ecologist and others are beginning to question the effectiveness of drug treatments in animals and how lessons are being learned from Africa.”

  3. Pingback: Verm-X for Reptiles: Parasite Control?

  4. A says:

    Vermex totally works. Healed our entire flock of turkeys from blackhead and other parasites for our chickens! We have used it effectively over the years.

  5. skeptvet says:

    As I have pointed out many times, anecdotes like this exist for every therapy ever tried, including things like bloodletting and ritual sacrifice which no one today would recommend. They are inherently misleading, and the unprecedented success of modern science in more than doubling our life expectancy and improving our quality of life tremendously has come about by specifically decreasing our trust in such anecdotes and placing it in controlled research instead. Science works and stories don’t, so the reason to challenge stories like yours is to help people avoid being misled, as we have for thousands of years, by such stories.

    Why We’re Often Wrong
    Testimonials Lie
    The Role of Anecdotes in Science-Based Medicine
    Why We Need Science: “I saw it with my own eyes” Is Not Enough
    Don’t Believe your Eyes (or Your Brain)

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