Trifexis is a medication designed to prevent heartworms and other parasite infections in dogs. However, some dogs may experience a variety of side-effects, the most common being vomiting.
If your dog vomits after Trifexis, call your veterinarian, the Pet Poison Hotline, or the customer service number of Elanco US, which is the company that produces this medicine. They will tell you how to proceed and if it’s okay to give your dog another dose.
What should you do if your dog threw up after Trifexis?
Your dog threw up Trifexis, but when? It is important to differentiate whether it was soon after eating or hours later.
Trifexis is best administered 10-15 minutes after your dog finished their meal. Some pet parents mix the Trifexis dog pill with the food, but this sometimes results in your dog vomiting the tablet, so it’s better to wait for your dog to have a full stomach.
If your dog throws up within one hour from the meal, you may be recommended to give your dog another pill. However, do not take this decision on your own. It is better to consult your vet or call Trifexis customer service to ask for instructions.
If your dog is throwing up at night after having Trifexis with dinner or several hours after the administration of the medicine, it would be better to call the nearest emergency clinic.
This isn’t meant to scare you, however, there have been cases of sick dogs that some pet parents see linked to ingestion of Trifexis even if it’s not officially confirmed, so any abnormal symptom should be reported as soon as possible, just to be safe.
Does Trifexis make dogs sick?
Trifexis is deemed safe for dogs. Several millions of Trifexis doses are administered every year and the production company strives to take into account any unforeseen side effects and look into it thoroughly.
As with every other medicine, Trifexis had to go through several rounds of tests before it was approved by the FDA and released on the market.
However, many pet parents are concerned because this dog medication wasn’t born as such and it has the potential to cause some discomfort to your pet.
What is Trifexis?
Spinosad was actually born as a crop pesticide, while milbemycin is an antiparasitic drug. The combination of these two components is what made Trifexis into the anti-heartworm medication that it is today.
Trifexis is not to take if your dog already has heartworms, as it is a preventive medication specifically designed to keep your pet safe from Dirofilaria immitis (heartworms), flea infestations, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.
Trifexis side effects.
Dogs that live in areas where heartworms are most common usually start taking Trifexis when they’re puppies and they are under medication their whole life.
As it often happens when taking medicines for long periods of time, the body might react differently the longer your dog takes the pills.
Old dogs or sick dogs are especially at risk of developing side-effects, but a dog that has taken any medication for a long time can start developing side-effects even if they never suffered from them before.
The most common known side-effects of Trifexis are diarrhea and vomiting. In a study involving 176 dogs over the course of 180 days, 6% experienced short-term vomiting and 2% diarrhea.
Other side-effects experienced included:
- Pruritus (4%)
- Lethargy (2.6%)
- Dermatitis (1.4%)
- Temporary loss of appetite (1.2%)
As you can see, none of the side-effects of Trifexis puts your dog’s life at risk. However, if your dog has pre-existing health conditions, things may be different.
Since dogs start taking this medication as puppies, they might be perfectly healthy when they start taking Trifexis and develop pathologies or typical diseases of old age as they grow up.
If and when that happens, you might want to reconsider the use of this medication. Discussing your options with your veterinarian will be the safest way to ensure your dog remains healthy.
Alleged Trifexis poisoning in dogs.
(Please note: the following paragraph is purely informative, as there is no confirmed direct correlation between the use of Trifexis and harmful consequences for dogs.)
A few years ago there was a great uproar about Trifexis on social networks and websites alike, as some pet parents accused the anti-heartworms tablets of being responsible for their dogs’ sudden deaths.
Reportedly, since Trifexis was launched on the market in 2011, more than 70 million doses of the medication have been administered to dogs and there have been more than 900 mysterious deaths that dog owners have linked to this medication.
These deaths usually didn’t happen immediately after the ingestion, but either sometime after the very first dose (hours, days, weeks, or even months) or after a long-term usage (more than one year of monthly Trifexis administration).
The complaints had no medical proof to back them up and many of them failed to report the age of the dogs or whether the pet had pre-existing medical conditions that could otherwise explain their sudden demise.
Even though Elanco confirmed several times that there is no correlation between Trifexis and these tragic deaths, the company and FDA are looking through the complaints in search of any possible correlation.
Symptoms of Trifexis poisoning.
Pet owners who reported their dog’s death as a consequence of Trifexis ingestion described more or less the same symptoms.
The dogs were either found unconscious, experienced seizures, or had heart attacks. Some of those who experienced convulsions survived, but continued to suffer from seizures throughout their life even though it was allegedly something that never happened to them before.
Some pet parents linked these accidents to Trifexis because they noticed that there were recurring events after the administration of the monthly pill (the same day/week). Others simply because it happened after the start of the medication.
Alternatives to Trifexis.
Whether you decide to trust Trifexis or not, heartworm disease still exists and it can kill your pet, so you need to make sure they’re safe.
As aforementioned, it’s true that Trifexis doesn’t get along with all dogs, but that’s equally true for a lot of medications. Before starting any long-term therapy, you should always take into consideration your dog’s medical history.
If you’re concerned about the side-effects, know that there are different alternatives to prevent heartworm disease that are equally FDA-approved like Sentinel, Heartgard, Nexgard, or Bravecto. They all usually come in chewing tablets.
Online you will also find many natural protocols to fight heartworms, however, it would be better to discuss it with a professional beforehand.
Dosage of Trifexis for dogs.
Trifexis is given before, during, and after the seasonal exposure to mosquitos:
– For heartworm prevention, it is recommended your dog takes this medication at least 3 months after the end of the season;
– For flea treatment, you should start the treatment at least one month before the flea season and continue all the way to the end of it.
Depending on the area you live in, fleas and heartworms might be a problem throughout the year. In this case, it is recommended to continue the treatment all year round.
You should give your dog one tablet of Trifexis every 30 days. The dosage depends on the size of your dog and it starts from a minimum of 13,5mg of Spinosad and 0.2mg of milbemycin oxime per pound of body weight.
A wrong dose of Trifexis could trigger the aforementioned side-effects (vomiting, pruritus, diarrhea), so it’s important to calculate it carefully.
Some dogs need to change their dosage after they gain weight and they might experience some symptoms because of it. If your dog shows any sign of discomfort, contact your veterinarian and consider changing the dose to a smaller one.
Heartworm test and protocol.
Before starting Trifexis or any heartworm prevention therapy, it’s fundamental to have your dog tested for heartworms.
If your dog happens to be already infected with heartworms, giving him prevention treatments may turn dangerous. Adult heartworms reproduce inside your dog’s body and create millions of microfilaria (microscopic heartworms) that will spread through the bloodstream.
Prevention medication will kill the existing microfilaria and the dead parasites will intoxicate your dog, causing vomiting, lethargy, and hard breathing among other consequences.
Any dog affected by heartworms should be treated back to full health before considering a future prevention treatment.
After your dog starts Trifexis, it will also be important to check for heartworms regularly. The recommended frequency for heartworm check-ups is at least once per year.
Is Trifexis safe for dogs?
Trifexis is safe for dogs, as it’s approved by the FDA, and as every other medication has been tested again and again before reaching the market.
Heartworm disease is debilitating and life-threatening, so you can’t leave your dog without protection. Nonetheless, before giving any medication to your dog you should be responsible and inform yourself about the pros and cons.
There are some allegations around Trifexis that can be concerning to hear, however, as of today, there is no confirmation that this medication will harm your dog outside of the publicly declared side-effects.
If you’re concerned about Trifexis and its possible consequences, explain your worries to your veterinarian and see what the best option for your pet is.
As every human being is unique, so are dogs, which means that taking your dog’s specific clinical picture into consideration should be the first step in every decision you take for them.