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Another Cure on The Market?

The season of the itch is here. 

Instead of being outside and enjoying the weather and the activities that go along with it, your pup is miserable. 

They can’t take two steps without having to stop and itch. If they’re lucky, they can still function. If not, they will scratch, bite, and even break the skin to stop the itching. 

So what if the medicine you were given to get rid of fleas, ticks, and heartworms turned out to be toxic and caused their livers, kidneys, and skin to go into overdrive? 

Yes this means they are trying to fend off the medicine that was given to them to stop the itch!

So what are we getting at here? We’re talking about a drug called Trifexis. 

 

What is Trifexis? 

Made by Elanco, a global pharmaceutical manufacturer with sales in the billions, this drug is a combination of two drugs found in other products:

  1. Spinosad: A pesticide sourced in the United States and the main ingredient in Comfortis, the flea killer. 
  2. Milbemycin: A pesticide sourced in China and the main ingredient in Interceptor, the heartworm larvae killer. 

If you live in Canada, the UK, or Australia, your version of Trifexis is called Panoramis. And if you’re nervous about the name Trifexis, you can get the exact same product under the name Comboguard.

 

So What’s Happening to Dogs After Taking Trifexis? 

The idea of giving your dogs pesticides sounds like a terrible idea, right? Making them healthier with this route of healing sounds a bit strange, but over 70 million doses have been sold in the United States alone. 

Now when we talk about how this drug affects pets, the internet has plenty of people sharing their stories. There is a Facebook page where people have come together to share experiences about their dogs taking Trifexis, and the unfortunate results of this drug. 

Results of people sharing their experiences include: 

  1. Failure of the product to rid hookworms.
  2. Refusal of the subsequent doses by dogs who were ill after the first dose. 
  3. Blindness immediately post-Trifexis dose, from detached retinas. 
  4. Death (By some counts, about 700 dogs were alleged to have died as a result of Trifexis).
  5. A vet who saw the harm to his patients reported it to Elanco and pulled the product from his shelves. 
  6. Vomiting (a common side effect by the number of reports). 
  7. Pancreatitis. 
  8. “Fly-biting,” an air snapping behavior common in epileptic dogs. 
  9. Seizures. 
  10.  Confusion, restless wandering. 
  11.  Weakness in rear limbs; paralysis. 
  12.  Heart Disease.
  13.  Lethargy.
  14.  Hypersensitivity (acting as if suddenly bitten and touchy). 

In many of these reports, some came after the first dose (including death), but many came after months of use or even a year. 

 

How to Recognize the Problems: 

Elanco claims that the pets who have died, were paralyzed, or went blind were not related to Trifexis. 

However, the problem is that study samples to push a new drug to market are incredibly small. If the sample is small, it’s not relative to the entire pet population as to how it will react in each dog’s system. Their findings don’t negate what hundreds or thousands of pet owners are seeing in their dogs (illness and death). 

On the other hand, necropsy results of a poisoned animal are non-specific. This means it could technically be anything and there wouldn’t be a way to exactly pinpoint Trifexis as the cause of death. Poisoning is often the presumed diagnosis based on history of ingestion and symptoms showing as a result. 

 

So What Do You Do? 

The takeaway from this is simple. Be a smart consumer. It is important to understand the products that are available on the market. 

The claims that are made on the box of these drugs might be true, but they also can come with serious side effects that could change your pet’s life forever. Rather than have this happen, look into these drugs. And even more, go to the reviews. People are not afraid to be honest about how things work or don’t work for their pets.

When you are more informed on what you’re giving your pets, it can help avoid problems in the long term.

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