|Updated: 11/15/2013 7:28 pm
||Published: 11/15/2013 5:14 pm
Animal lovers across the country are coming forward, blaming a popular pet drug for killing their dogs.
Trifexis is a single, once-a-month pill that prevents heartworms, fleas and other parasites.
Now the manufacturer is responding to allegations that its pill is a problem.
Beth Timms said her dog, Gizmo, was lethargic, suffered vertigo, seizures and a 106-degree fever after her vet prescribed the dog's first ever dose of Trifexis.
"We had to let her go. We had to have her put her to sleep. I killed my dog," she said.
Timms found a Facebook( add link) page where owners vent grief and blame.
The page led to a home in Georgia, where a dog bowl is now a memorial to a puppy named Bishop.
Bishop was one of 7 Vizsla hunting dogs born in June from an American Kennel Club grand champion.
Three of those puppies are thriving in Florida, they've never had Trifexis.
A fourth puppy named Durham is in Atlanta. He's never had Trifexis either.
Bishop and his litter mates, Tucker and Jade, each got their one and only dose of Trifexis in early to mid-September.
Bishop and Jade were dead within three weeks. Tucker died in six days.
Each one died of heart inflammation.
The cause of death is still being researched, but the only common element is the Trifexis.
Glenpool veterinarian Dr. Corinna Tressler told FOX23 she won't carry Trifexis, but has treated two dogs that have taken it. She said one had seizures.
"The second case was my technician, she gave her English bulldog Trifexis and this case started hypersalivating, collapsed on the ground," she said.
She says the dog seemed to be back to normal within 24 hours.
Trifexis is made by Eli Lilly and Elanco. Dr. Stephen Connell, a top vet with Elanco said they've dispensed 50 million doses since Trifexis hit the market less than three years ago.
The Food and Drug Administration tallied reports of bad reactions as of April: 2,200 episodes of vomiting, 600 lethargic dogs and 31 dog deaths.
"We don't like the fact that it has killed any dogs. But as with any pharmaceutical product, we understand that the very rare sensitivities allergic events, those types of things are going to happen," said Connell.
As for the puppies:
"It is our opinion that there are other factors involved in this case," he said.
A University of Georgia pathology report says a bacterial infection likely caused Bishop's heart failure and that his symptoms were typical of a drug toxicity.
Trifexis contains two drugs, spinosad and milbemycin.
The spinosad is from the United States. The milbemycin is sourced from China.
Connell says the manufacturer's Chinese supplier has had multiple inspections and is a non-issue.
The puppy owners are left to wonder just what the issue is.
An Elanco spokesperson has since stated that Connell didn't mean to say they don't like that Trifexis has killed any dogs.
Rather: The company doesn't like hearing reports of any deaths.
Elanco possesses an updated number of deaths reported, but refuses to disclose it.