The common heartworm, parasite, and flea medicine Trifexis is being linked to numerous dog deaths. According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, reports from the vets and families of dogs who have died are far too common. At this point, dog deaths are being reported to the FDA at a rate of about one per day. The rate has risen by forty percent since last November when Trifexis was first being publicly linked to dog deaths. Last fall, data obtained through a Freedom of Information request submitted to the FDA showed that since Trifexis was first given to dogs, every 36 hours, a report of a new death was reported.
Wednesday, WSB-TV reported in a separate news brief:
“FDA is aware of adverse event reports in connection with Trifexis and continues to closely monitor them. It is very important to realize that reports of adverse events do not necessarily mean that the product caused the event. Other factors, such as existing disease, exposure to chemicals or contaminants, foods, or other medications may have triggered or contributed to the cause of the event. However, when FDA is able to establish a safety concern with an approved animal drug, it may take actions such as requesting the manufacturer changes the label to reflect this safety issue and provides information to veterinarians and animal owners about how to use the product more safely. FDA is reviewing all available information on Trifexis in order to determine if actions such as label changes need to be taken.”
Trifexis is given to dogs once every month to kill fleas, reduce parasites and reduce the chances that a dog will suffer from heartworm. Commercials list side effects like vomiting or lethargy, but do not disclose the possibility of death. Trifexis’ manufacturer Elanco affirms that the deaths reported were not necessarily caused by Trifexis. A pathologist hired by the company found no causative connection between the Trifexis and dog deaths.
Anita Bergin was interviewed by a reporter and stated that her 10-year-old dog suffered a terrible initial reaction from just one dose of Trifexis. After that reaction, her dog lost all muscle control and thirst and her dog suffered from liver failure. Bergin had her dog euthanized to prevent further suffering.
Others claim Trifexis is a wonderful drug and are thankful that it is available. Elanco updated the side effects on he prescribing information to include ataxia (loss of muscle control) two years ago. Elanco also added seizures to the list of possible side effects to dogs. “All the tests that are done, they’re all inconclusive. No one can ever say this death is absolutely the result of administering this particular medication. But all the owners, all the pet caregivers know,” Bergen told WSB-TV.
WITN interviewed vets all across Eastern Carolina. Almost all of them agreed that Trifexis is safe. Most vets commented that they give it to their own pets.
A Facebook community page was set up called “Does Trifexis Kill Dogs?” The page has over 5000 Facebook likes. A petition to recall Trifexis and another drug has also been created claiming the medications are causing deaths in dogs across the nation.
[Photo via Facebook]