After WSB-TV Atlanta aired the news about dog deaths linked to a popular dog flea pill, Trifexis, eight months ago, the number of death complaints rose by nearly 40 percent, now coming in at a rate greater than one dog per day.
The Food and Drug Administration says that there is no solid evidence linking Trifexis to any dog’s death. The reports are complaints from owners and vets saying the pill is merely suspected.
Anita Bergen, a resident of Acworth, says, “The initial reaction from taking that one pill was horrible.”
Anita claimed that all it took for her 10-year-old Scottie, named Fergus, is one pill. She also says her pooch lost all muscle control, lost his thirst and suffered liver failure. She euthanized him two months after giving him the pill.
“It’s just horrendous to watch an animal die such a horrible, painful, excruciating death,” said Anita.
Her dog’s case is included in the FDA data.
Trifexis is used pill to kill fleas, control parasites and prevent heartworm that is given once a month.
TV commercials list side effects like vomiting and lethargy, but not death.
According to WSB-TV’s consumer investigator, Jim Strickland, he learned through the Freedom of Information Act that the FDA lists 965 complaints of dog deaths blamed on Trifexis.
An increase of 38 percent in the last eight months has been noted — close to the total of 1,000 deaths linked to Chinese-made chicken jerky pet treats.
Drug maker Elanco maintains it can find no link between the pill and any dog fatalities.
“I see that as a cause for investigation, and as they’re looking at those causes. I feel confident the FDA will follow through, but from our experience, we haven’t seen it,” said veterinarian Toby Carmichael.
Toby says he and his partners have prescribed 75,000 doses of Trifexis with no adverse complications.
“My dogs have been on Trifexis since it came out and haven’t had an issue once,” he said.
Physician Rochelle LePor has given her 7-year-old rescue dog Cooper nearly 40 pills over three years.
“I can only speak of my experience. For me, it’s like a wonder drug,” Rochelle LePor, a physician, said. She has given her 7-year-old rescue dog Cooper nearly 40 pills over three years.
“The FDA is not going to allow a product on the market that’s going to hurt animals,” added Toby.
Reports to Elanco’s customer hotline received nearly 1,500 complaints of lost muscle control; a condition called ataxia. The drug maker added ataxia to its list of side effects two years ago.
Elanco also added seizures in the list of side effects — the problem that affected a bulldog named Foxy who is owned by Nancy Harrison, a 50-year veteran breeder.
The poor pooch developed additional symptoms beyond her veterinarian’s control and Nancy was forced to euthanize her.
Nancy stopped using the drug, even though her other dogs handled it without issue.
“It’s hard to lose a dog. They’re my children,” said Nancy.
Both Nancy and Anita are devastated because of their dogs’ mysterious deaths.
“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,” said Anita.
The FDA says it’s continuing to monitor reports, and considers the product label a living document. As of now, there are no plans to list death as even a rare but potential side effect.
Image and article source: WSB-TV Atlanta