Grieving dog lovers from across the country blame a widely used heartworm drug, Trifexis, for killing their dogs. They have been locked in a battle with the corporate giant., Elanco, since August 2012, when the Trifexis Kills Dogs Facebook page was started.
Trifexis is is once-a-month pill pill for the prevention of parasites and flea prevention.
Elanco is the animal health division of pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly.
Owners from all over the country have posted on the Facebook page, blaming the drug for their dogs’ deaths.
Channel 2 Action News uncovered several cases in Metro Atlanta.
Beth Timms from Gainesville lost her 12-year-old mix-breed dog, Gizmo, after the first dose of Trifexis. Prior to the tragedy, Gizmo was a healthy senior dog. After taking Trifexis Gizmo suffered lethargy, vertigo, seizures and a 106-degree temperature.
Beth told Channel 2, “It’s like a piece of your heart is being torn out. “We had to let her go. We had to have her put to sleep,” adding. “I killed my dog.”
Timms emailed consumer investigator Jim Strickland after finding the Facebook page. The page led Strickland to the home of Jenny Schmitt, another dog owner who had lost her puppy, Bishop, under similar circumstances.
“He died. For no reason, no warning,” said Jenny Schmitt.
Bishop was a highly bred 16-week-old Vizsla puppy. Four of his litter mates are healthy and thriving. None of them has ever taken Trifexis. Two other litter mates have died. Bishop and the other two pups all received a single dose of Trifexis.
Different vets ruled they all died of heart inflammation. Can this be co-incidence?
Elanco’s top veterinarians insist that Trifexis is safe. Dr. Stephen Connell told Strickland that he uses it for his own dogs and the company has dispensed 50 million doses in less than three years ago.
“We don’t like the fact that it has killed any dogs. But with any pharmaceutical product, we understand that the very rare sensitivities, allergic events — those types of things are going to happen,” Connell said.
What does this statement mean? Are dogs with “sensitivities, allergies” collateral damage or an “acceptable risk”? Wow!
Elanco’s spokesman later tried to do a bit of damage control saying that Connell has actually meant to say the company doesn’t like that Trifexis killed any dogs, but rather the company doesn’t like hearing reports of any deaths.
Pet owners have filed an enormous amount of reports about Trifexis with the FDA. As of April 2003 there are 2200 reports of the drug causing vomiting, 600 cases of lethargy, and 31 reports of dog deaths. This equates to one per month since the drug hit the market. That’s a whole lot of sick dogs!
Source: WSB-TV2 ATLANTA