Recently you may have seen or heard about WRAL-5 news story regarding a local woman who believes her dog died as the result of treating her pet with a popular oral flea medication. The products cited in the story were Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio, Bravecto, and Revolution Plus, which we do prescribe and sell at our hospital.
Since that story aired, we have been contacted by many of our clients who are understandably concerned about the use of these products. While we truly sympathize with this pet owner and anyone who loses an animal companion in such a tragic way, we want to make sure you have the most accurate information about these products so you can make informed choices for your own pet.
As the news report advised, there was an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018 regarding the potential for adverse neurologic side effects in dogs and cats who have been treated with these medications, which are all in the isoxazoline class of parasite preventives.
Nothing is more important to us than the health of our patients and the safety of the products we recommend and prescribe. With millions of doses of these preventive medications sold worldwide, adverse reactions, including seizures, remain very rare: less than one per 10,000 dogs.
It’s important you know that claims made in this news story are not backed up by any research that links these flea and tick medications with increased risk of neurologic issues in healthy pets or with the development of cancer.
In fact, as the doctor in the report advises, research is very spotty on this issue and the risks are far greater that your pet will contract a debilitating tick-borne disease if they are not protected. This is especially true in our region of the country, where ticks flourish and the incidence of the diseases they carry is very high.
The FDA still considers drugs in this category to be safe and effective for pets. We use these products on our own animals, and were we to observe a bad reaction or become aware of research indicating the potential for harmful side effects, we would pull them from our shelves immediately.
That said, it is important that if your pet has a history of seizures that you consult your veterinarian before using any product of this nature. After the FDA report was published, the manufacturers of these products revised their packaging to include information about possible neurologic side effects. This is one of the many reasons we require a physical exam before prescribing any medication to our patients so we can make sure the product is safe for your pet based on his or her health history.
Creedmoor Road Animal Hospital is dedicated to providing the safest and most effective medications for your pet. We make it our priority to stay on top of any new and changing information on products we recommend for our patients. We appreciate the trust that you place in us to care for your pets, and as Medical Director, I promise that we will always put your pet’s safety first.
We will continue to stay in communication with the manufacturer and you, as a pet owner, so that you can have full confidence in our advice. Please don’t hesitate to let our team know if you have any questions or would like to speak with me or any of our veterinarians directly about this issue—we always welcome an open conversation if you have any concerns.
All the best to you and your pets,
Dr. Karina Ballester
Creedmoor Road Animal Hospital