Consumers question popular flea, heartworm preventive

Vets taking cautious approach with dog medicine

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Consumers are raising questions about a popular flea and heartworm preventive medication, and some people are saying the medicine, Trifexis, is killing their dogs.

According to reports, dog owners' complaints blaming Trifexis for killing their animals has risen 40 percent. The FDA released a statement saying it has looked into the deaths and there is no solid evidence linking Trifexis to the reported deaths.

News4Jax spoke Thursday night to local veterinarian Andrew Boggs at St. Francis Animal Hospital in San Marco, who said vets are taking precautionary measures to ensure pets' safety with not only Trifexis but all medications.

"Most of our customers are happy with it. However, even with Trifexis, or any other heartworm preventative, you really need to assess the patient first, because there are significant health effects that a patient can have that if you give any of these products they can have an adverse reaction to it," said Boggs.

Boggs explained there is not enough evidence out on Trifexis to blame the drug for any deaths.

"At this point, I don't think enough is known as far as in these specific incidents whether or not these patients had a concurrent illness that caused these side effects. So at this point, the veterinary community as a whole is very, we are being very proactive as far as trying to identify any potential adverse effects that Trifexis or any other medication may have. But I don't think the evidence is clearly out yet. It's not black and white," said Boggs. "So at this point we just say, as always, consult your veterinarian and talk with them about any potential options that there might be for your pet."

The FDA also said it is continuing to monitor reports about the drug.