Earlier this year, our vet put our dog on the heart worm preventative medication Trifexis. There had been supply problems with her usual medication, so we had little choice. We didn't think much of it at the time. Since Trifexis also killed fleas, we thought it would be a great to replace two medications with one.
Our dog tolerated it well, at first, though we did notice she was a little lethargic for a few hours after her first dose. The next month, we noticed greater lethargy. Our dog had trouble with her hind legs, including inflammation in one of her hocks, and she developed really bad gas and frequent bouts of diarrhea. With the third dose the following month, things continued to get worse.
We began to suspect the Trifexis, since it was the only change to our dog's routine. Our vet told us that the Trifexis was not likely the cause. However, I wasn't convinced and began to research online. What I found shocked me. There were so many accounts of dogs becoming sick after starting on a regimen of Trifexis. There were even deaths that owners attributed to Trifexis. Needless to say, we did not continue our dog on Trifexis. Our vet agreed we should stop until we determined the cause of our dog's issues.
Our dog had a full senior wellness exam (she was 9 years old) complete with x-rays, blood work, and urinalysis. Most everything looked good, but there were a few issues: digestive tract inflammation, bursitis in one of her hocks, spondylosis, liver enlargement, and her pancreatic enzyme levels were a little high.
Our dog continued to deteriorate, with back leg weakness becoming very worrisome. We did everything we could think of, but a little over a month later we ended up back at the vet when our dog exhibited rapid, shallow breathing. Within hours, she became paralyzed and in extreme distress. We ended up having to make one of the hardest decisions a dog parent can make. We had to say goodbye to her that day.
To be honest, our dog had health issues. She was diagnosed with SARDS in early 2011. Though she tested negative for Cushing's disease shortly after her SARDS diagnosis, we suspect she may have developed it and it may have been what ultimately caused her deterioration and death, since she did seem to have many symptoms that matched. However, we will never be sure that Trifexis didn't contribute to her decline. It certainly had a deleterious effect on her health and didn't make her last months enjoyable.
The fact that so many dog owners report serious health problems apparently arising from the use of Trifexis, I think it's important that the manufacturer and vets take this seriously and investigate. To be sure, the majority of dogs will do well on Trifexis, but there are obviously plenty of dogs who do not. We need to understand WHY they do not and be sure that vets and consumers alike are better educated to the risks. And perhaps, more testing needs to be done.
How has your dog done on Trifexis? Good or bad, let us know by leaving a comment. Perhaps together we can figure out what's going on.