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larrybg 03-27-2014 06:04 PM

Food or Med Allergies
After we got our puppy we put him on the raw food. I was feeding him Blueridge PuppyMix and was adding to it vegetables, olive oil and raw yolk. Also was buying chicken backs from Whole Foods (no antibiotics added), sardines from Fresh Markets.

So his schedule was rotating mornings with Ricotta cheese mixed with apple, chicken backs or sardines, and evening the PuppyMix with vegetables. From supplements just the fish oil capsules from Costco. No issues with anything, shiny coat, active and happy.

When he turned 4 month old it was time for the first heartworm medication. Vet gave him the Heartguard. After a week or so we started to see some changes in his behavior – more itchy/scratchy. That increased with the second pill.
Why am I blaming that – b/c nothing else was changed. He went through steroids and antibiotics b/c he was “eating” himself. Back legs almost without fur, the back all in patches. He looks like a straight dog now. And I see like dandruff on his coat (maybe it’s just a dry skin, or it is dry skin). Today is the second day that we started to see him vomiting. It could be nothing, maybe just too much fur is getting in his stomach when scratching.
So we started illuminating all possible causes: he got Comfortis to kill flees if any (he didn’t have any); checked him for mites – negative; I switched him from PuppyMix to Venison to minimize the risk of allergies; removed chicken. Now he eats Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast Lamb (only one protein source), Venison for dinner, and I still give him Ricotta once a week.

After 1 week nothing changed - still itching and scratching. Maybe needs more time to clear out? Just question from what...

Now he needs to get his next Heartguard and I think I will go with another med.

Does anyone was or is in the similar situation? Any suggestions are welcome – I need to get him better.

JakodaCD OA 03-27-2014 06:49 PM

I would get rid of the heartguard first and give it a couple months, not sure how long it stays in the system, but I had a gsd once, who couldn't tolerat heartguard, he would vomit every single time he got one..

If you don't have fleas, I'd get rid of the comfortis to. Try eliminating those things, and give it some time, I'd go back to feeding him what you started with, if he was doing well on it, eliminate the two drugs, see how it goes, then if you see no improvement, then I would start eliminating the food..

I dunno, but I've been hearing about ALOT of itchy dogs this year, with no real diagnosis:(

GatorBytes 03-27-2014 07:27 PM

It appears to be well known that spinosad can interact badly with ivermectin (Heartgard®). A study found ivermectin toxicity in dogs when given in conjunction with spinosad (Comfortis®). The findings suggest that spinosad increases the risk of ivermectin neurotoxicity by inhibiting the secretion of ivermectin to increase systemic drug levels and by inhibiting P-gp at the blood-brain barrier. (

There are lots of anecdotal reports of dogs suffering severe vomiting, stomach issues, lethargy, lack of appetite, kidney failure, seizure-like symptoms, vestibular symptoms and death after being dosed with Comfortis®. Many of these stories can be found in the comments under this veterinary article advocating Comfortis as a wonder drug.
The second active ingredient in Trifexis®, milbemycin oxime (trade name Interceptor), is also used in Milbemax (with praziquantel), and Sentinel Flavor Tabs (with lufenuron). It acts by binding to glutamate gated chloride ion channels in invertebrate nerve and muscle cells, causing paralysis and death of the parasites. It may also act by disrupting the transmission of invertebrate neurotransmitters.
Adverse effects reported for milbemycin show (in order of frequency) 9,359 instances of it being ineffective against heartworm, vomiting (2453), diarrhea, ineffective against ascarids, depression/lethargy, ineffective against hookworms, whipworms, anorexia and many more.

Trifexis is also marketed under the private label Vethical ComboGuard for VCA vet clinics. Vethical also has a Comfortis® equivalent called Acuguard.

JakodaCD OA 03-27-2014 07:34 PM

^^Good catch:)

larrybg 03-27-2014 07:56 PM

Well, I have to say that Comfortis was given after the itching started to illuminate flees possibility. I agree to give him some time to clear out after Neartguard, but afraid to go back 100% raw with chicken and PuppyMix, since it could be chicken allergy (hard to believe after 4 month eating it).
What I was thinking is to get him well and then start adding one by one more to his menu.

Gretchen 03-28-2014 12:01 AM

We noticed more itching after giving trifexis/comfortis and after a post here about the deaths on trifexis we stopped used both products. We have not had issues using heartguard on it's own.

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