FDA and Local Vet Say Claims Of Deadly Dog Drug Are Unfounded

Posted at 10:28 PM, Nov 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-15 22:29:20-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A drug offered by veterinarians in West Michigan has been the topic of recent concerns among dog owners.

The name of the drug is Trifexis, a preventive chewable given to dogs once a month to prevent fleas, heartworms and other parasites.

For over a year, Dr. Ashley Tittle has been taking care of animals at Eastown Veterinary Clinic.  She also prescribes Trifexis.

“We are always watching to make sure that every product is the safest that it can be,” she said.  “Trifexis is a product that we selected because it is convenient to owners.”

Dr. Tittle has had customers coming in asking if the drug was safe after hearing some media reports from stations across the country that dog owners said the death of their pets were linked to Trifexis.

A search online reveals a recent Facebook group with thousands of members called ‘Trifexis kills dogs.’  The site offers testimony from dog owners claiming the drug was responsible for the death of a pet.

The FDA said it’s heard the complaints but said there is no link between the drug Trifexis and the death of any animal.

“I feel terrible for anyone who has lost a pet, especially a young pet and something very sudden,” said Dr. Tittle.  “But at this point we don’t have any information that links the death to this product.”

Colleen Parr Dekker, a spokesperson for the Trifexis manufacturer Elanco, said the drug has been on the market for nearly three years and the concerns are all fairly recent.

“There has been more than 50 million doses of this product,” she said.

Dekker said they have spoken with the affected pet owners and their vets, and saw the death reports of the 31 animals that reportedly died and said the use of Trifexis was coincidental.

Although Trifexis isn’t directly linked to any pet deaths, there are several reported side effects, which include red or flaky skin, lethargy and diarrhea.  Dr. Tittle said anyone who is uncomfortable with the medication they are giving their animal should talk to their vet and look for a possible substitute.