A study was undertaken in order to evaluate and compare ivermectin's (IVM) plasma disposition kinetic parameters after oral or intramuscular (IM) administration in horses. Ten clinically healthy adult horses, weighing 380–496 kg body weight (BW), were allocated to two experimental groups of five horses. Group I, was treated with an oral paste formulation of IVM at the manufacturer's recommended dose of 0.2 mg/kg BW. Group II, was treated IM with an injectable 1% formulation of IVM at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg BW. Blood samples were collected by jugular puncture at different times between 0.5 h and 75 days post-treatment. After plasma extraction and derivatization, samples were analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. A computerized kinetic analysis was performed, and data were compared using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. The parent molecule was detected in plasma between 30 min and either 20 (oral) or 40 (IM) days post-treatment. Significant differences were found for the time corresponding to peak plasma concentrations (tmax) and for absorption half-life. Peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) of 51.3 ± 16.1 ng/ml (mean ± SD) were obtained after oral administration and of 31.4 ± 6.0 ng/ml for the IM route. The values for area under concentration–time curve were 137.1 ± 35.9 ng day/ml for the group treated orally, and 303.2 ± 4.3 ng day/ml for the IM treated group. The mean plasma residence times were 4.2 ± 0.4 and 8.9 ± 0.7 days for oral and IM-treated groups, respectively. The results of this study show that the route of administration considerably affects the disposition of IVM. A significant difference in bioavailabilty and half-life of elimination of IVM was observed after IM administration compared with oral administration. A close relationship between pharmacokinetic profiles and the clinical efficacy of IVM was established.