Pet owners blame drug for dog illnesses

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DENVER -- At dog parks across metro Denver, many are talking about a pill which allows dog owners to administer drugs to fight parasites, heartworms and fleas all at once.

“These pills help dog owners remember all three treatments at once,” said Alameda East Vet Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald. “Right now, while some are saying Trifexis is linked to 31 deaths and 3,000 illnesses across the country, there is no hard evidence or warning from the FDA about its use," he says.

The chewable tablets made by Elanco indicates more than 50 million doses have been sold in the three years it has been on the market.

And while dog owners who have lost pets while using the drug have set up the Facebook page, “Trifexis Kills Dogs,” no one has made a positive link between the deaths and the pills. Some say there are side effects to the pill, red or flaky skin, lethargy and diarrhea, but again no direct evidence these effects will lead to a dog's death.

The deaths feared linked to Trifexis come from states with a longer summer season, with more mosquitos than we get here in the Rockies.

Dr. Fitzgerald says when getting prescriptions for pets or for yourself, always ask the following questions: does it work and is it safe?