AVMA addresses pet owners' concerns about Trifexis media coverage

Following a Nov. 11 media report by an Atlanta news station that raised questions about the safety of the drug Trifexis, the AVMA is advising pet owners to hold off on making any rash decisions about their dogs' health care based on unsubstantiated stories from the news media or social media.

The AVMA said it is concerned that although no illnesses or deaths have been definitively linked to Trifexis usage, the media coverage and social media activity could lead some people to stop using heartworm and parasite preventives on their pets.

"Our hearts go out to those who've lost their pets and who feel it may be due to a medication," the AVMA said on their website. "It's always difficult to lose a pet, and we know it can be even harder to lose one unexpectedly. However, heartworm and parasite prevention is critical to your pet's health, so please do not stop giving your pet his or her preventive."

The AVMA advised pet owners to consult with their veterinarians if they have questions or concerns instead of abandoning the use of preventive medications. 

Since the initial report, the news station did a follow-up report where drugmaker Elanco reiterated that there has been no link found between the dog deaths and usage of Trifexis.

"We have not been able to identify with all of these reports, any specific trends we can link directly to the use of the product," said Elanco veterinarian Stephen Connell, DVM, in the newest report. "Certainly we want to investigate these cases. We want to get to the bottom of this as much as anyone does."

AVMA resources for veterinarians

The AVMA has compiled more useful information for veterinarians about this subject, as well as an article for pet owners.