not, Atlanta based reporter Jim Strictland ran a story of tales of death by Trifexis, which led to this Facebook page gathering followers in the thousands. Curious, I visited this page and read some of the tales, many of which succeeded at pulling at the heart strings, but were sorely lacking in any scientific link to the cause of death and Trifexis. In fact, anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of medicine and pharmacology would see many of the claims bordering on the outrageous.
But these people could not be convinced otherwise; their dogs wer killed by Trifexis and that was the end of it. It did not matter that Trifexis was merely a combination of two previously long established products (the flea preventive spinosad, the active ingredient of Comfortis; combined with the heartworm preventive milbemycin oxime, the active ingredient of Interceptor). Is it not curious to any Trifexis bashers that neither of these medications has been implicated in mass canine fatalities after years of being on the canine preventive market as separate products; yet existing concurrently in Trifexis, these ingredients are suddenly deadly?
Nevertheless, the conspiracy continues with more joining in every day. Most troublingly, the posts continue to get increasingly aimed at veterinarians, to many of them, the peddlers this deadly medication, callously choosing the profit of the sale of Trifexis at the expense of precious canine lives. It is not uncommon to read statements like “I don’t know if I will ever be capable of trusting a veterinarian ever again.” Unfortunately that is among the nicest of statements made against veterinarians, with others downright vile, some even violent in nature.
Through all of this, there is no mention of the number of dogs whose owners have not bought into the Trifexis mass hysteria, and have benefitted from the product. Believe me, as a small businessman, I have no reason to protect big pharma. If anything, while they provide a lot of the medications that I rely on to treat my patients, I still view my relationship with them as wary for the most part, adversarial at time; often frustrated by their policies and the manner in which they conduct business. However, when a product that effectively prevents deadly heartworm disease and kills fleas more effectively than any other product on the market (heartworm and fleas are a serious problem in Florida where I practice, the former transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes leading to right sided heart failure; the latter, causing torment from constant bites, secondary skin infections, and spreads parasites and disease) is attacked with notions that have no scientific credibility, it is troubling. While I do not feel any pity for Elanco, the company that makes Trifexis, I do have pity for the thousands of dogs that will suffer with disease because of their owners choosing to believe unscrupulous reporters and sensational Facebook posts over sound veterinary medical judgment.
2014 Marks the Year of Media Assault On Veterinary Medicine
As previously mentioned, the Trifexis controversy also managed to drag veterinarians under the bus in 2014, implicating us in willfully killing dogs for the sake of our bottom line. But this was not the only instance this year that veterinarians have been attacked, as 2014 marked the year that the media decided that veterinary medicine was an evil that needed to be exposed
It started with a 20/20 “expose’” on ABC that accused veterinarians of recommending unnecessary procedures as a desperate move
Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne, FL, Chief Editor of the Veterinary Advice and Information Website, Web-DVM, and founder/CEO of Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care.