Trifexis – the FDA approved monthly medication created to prevent fleas and heart worms for dogs – may not be safe according to more than 965 people who suspect that their dogs have died from the drug.
Trifexis reports on its website that “to receive FDA approval Trifexis was tested in hundreds of dogs, and detailed clinical reports were submitted for intense review. Adverse events are reported to the FDA, and concerns are thoroughly investigated.” Side effects listed for Trifexis include: vomiting, itching, lethargy, diarrhea, dermatitis, skin reddening, decreased appetite, and pinnal reddening.
Preventative Vet has put together an excellent article concerning the allegations against Trifexis by looking at both sides of the issue. Preventative Vet’s answer to people’s question “does Trifexis kill dogs?” is that “there is currently a suspicion, though no conclusive proof, that there may be some significant safety problems with one of the most popular heartworm preventatives — Trifexis. It appears as though these concerns are being taken seriously and are currently under investigation by the appropriate people and agencies.”
Speaking from experience, I gave my dogs Zoey and Jem Trifexis after they were both out of the puppy stage as their first flea/heartworm medication. Zoey had the most trouble with the drug.
When she first started taking Trifexis, I was using it strictly as a preventative rather than a “cure” for any pre -existing conditions. She was young and didn’t have a single case of fleas or heart worm problems, but I knew it was important to take precautions. As soon as she started taking Trifexis, I noticed a very severe change in her stool almost immediately. Her stool had this milky white slimy membrane over it which I had never seen before. I was very concerned. The vet examined her and said it was probably a side effect from the Trifexis, and it was not something I needed to worry about (but of course any dog mom is going to worry!) I decided to follow the vet’s advice and give her another dose of Trifexis the next month (the problem with her stool only seemed to last the first two days after taking it). I was very strict about giving her doses exactly when they were due to keep her as protected as possible from fleas or heart worm.
We moved into a rental home with a large back yard, and the previous owners had cats. I began to suspect she had fleas even though she had been taking Trifexis to prevent them. A visit to the vet confirmed that she did in fact have her first case of fleas! I was shocked, disappointed, and felt gipped. I thought I was doing the right thing by giving her Trifexis to prevent fleas, and then she got them anyway as if the product hadn’t worked at all. After the scary side effect she experienced with her stool and a case of the fleas, it was easy for me to make the decision to take her off of Trifexis without any regrets. Since she has been off of it, she has never had that problem with her stool again and has been 100% flea-free. She now receives a heart worm shot from her vet twice a year that lasts 6 months, and I give her K9 Advantix because she spends lots of time in the woods where we have seen ticks.
The most popular news story covering this topic can be viewed below:
Only you can make the choice when it comes to deciding which flea and heart worm preventatives are best for your family’s dog. Having said that, I think it is extremely important that we all do our own research and understand as best we can all of the options out there and learn from the experiences of others. If Trifexis is causing other peoples’ dogs to have problems and many of them suspect it is the cause of death for their precious pups, then you might decide to air on the side of caution and think carefully before giving it to your dog.
On the other hand, I completely agree with Preventative Vet’s advice on this Trifexis dilemma when they say that “while the investigation is ongoing, you shouldn’t panic and you shouldn’t jump to conclusions – especially if your dog has been safely on Trifexis for some time now. However, If you do decide to change preventatives — which is your right and there are lots of other effective medications out there for you and your veterinarian to choose from — you should be sure to do so only with the counseling and input of your veterinarian.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!