Pet owners say their dogs died after taking popular heartworm preventative Trifexis

Some owners convinced a connection exists

TAMPA, Fla. - A growing number of pet owners are blaming a popular flea and heartworm preventative for killing their dogs.

Sister-station WFTS combed through reports filed with the Food and Drug Administration and found 965 complaints where owners blamed their dog's death on Trifexis in the last three and a half years.

Kiley Shultz says her healthy 12-year-old golden retriever, Apollo, got sick the day after his third monthly dose. 

Eamonn Kneeshaw is convinced there is a connection. His dog Harry could not stand up a day after taking his first dose of Trifexis. The 12-year-old dog died a couple of weeks later.

Veterinarian Dr. Arthur Simon owns the two VetCare animal hospitals in Tampa, Florida. The practice prescribes around 2,000 Trifexis doses a month. Simon says he has yet to have a single patient complain of a death or serious reaction from the pill.

The drug’s maker, Elanco, maintains they’ve sold 70 million doses of Trifexis and have found no link between the pill and any dog deaths since it came on the market more than 3 years ago.

The FDA told WFTS it continues to monitor "..all available information on Trifexis in order to determine if actions such as label changes need to be taken."

Scott Neily said his 3-month-old puppy, Tucker, was the picture of health until he took his first dose of Trifexis. Tucker died in Neily’s arms the day after taking the pill.

The necropsy report blames the puppy's death on heart failure, but the cause remains a mystery.

The summary states, "This puppy's death was attributed to severe cardiac disease, but unfortunately the cause of the condition was not determined at necropsy."

Dog owners WFTS met with said they will continue to share their stories with the hope of warning others about Trifexis.

All of the pet owners who spoke with the station said they took their pets to a veterinarian. But no tie to Trifexis was established.

According to its own label, the most common adverse reactions to Trifexis include vomiting, itching and decreased activity. If the problem persists after 1 to 2 days, or your dog acts much different than normal, you need to contact your vet.

Pet owners whose dogs have suffered severe adverse reactions are asked to report them to both the drug maker Elanco at 888-545-5973 and the FDA at 888-FDA-VETS.

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