My primary life focus is helping humans find peace and escort them through the great transition we call dying. I also practice canine acupressure. Sometimes I find both dog and end of life client at the same location.
I went to meet my newest client, Terry, an eighty-seven year old man dying of end-stage, congestive heart failure. It was a thirty minute drive from my place to the Westside of Santa Cruz, where an incredibly tall and spindly palm tree marked the destination. The bark of eighteen month old Mac, a beautiful red standard poodle, announced my arrival.
Over my client’s last month of life, Mac and I bonded. Whenever I step through the front door, Mac is waiting. Each time, I kneel, drop to his level and take him into my arms. I am never sure which of us is more excited to see the other. All separation falls away. I lower my head down and he sniffs, licks, nuzzles and loves me. I absorb him.
The great thing about dogs: they are always in the flow of the present moment. When we are with our dogs, there is an opportunity to remember what we really are at the deepest core. Most dog-lovers feel and understand this.
During one day while Terry was sleeping, his wife Peggy informs me about Mac’s health history. She’s had poodles continually since 1963. Her two small poodles lived to age eighteen. Four of her large poodles died at about thirteen to fifteen. She told me:
“We got Mac in the summer of 2015. The breeder’s vet and our vet gave the puppy a clean bill of health, for a while he seemed to be doing fine. Then after about a year he started having vomiting and diarrhea problems. As Mac’s vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite and itching got worse, particularly the diarrhea, the vet put Mac on a strict diet of Hypo-hydrolyzed protein. He hated both the wet and dry versions and I had a very difficult time getting him to eat. So he lost several pounds and still has diarrhea and vomiting at times.”
A few months later, after Terry had passed on, Mac stopped eating almost entirely. Peggy’s vet had run every possible test and suggested exploratory surgery. Peggy felt a less invasive method might work. Remembering how I used stomach channel acupressure to stimulate Mac’s appetite a couple of months earlier, she asked me to come over.
After two weeks of acupressure (three times per week), a healing progression began. I would work for about fifteen to twenty minutes focusing mostly on Mac’s stomach channel and balancing with his bladder and pericardium channel. Dogs love acupressure and respond beautifully.
After the first week of treatment, Mac began to eat. Then the vomiting stopped and the diarrhea lessoned, though he still had not gained weight. The next week Mac was having mostly normal bowel movements again and eating regularly.
At this point, he was still not gaining weight, so we began to look at other factors. Trouble shooting together, Peggy and I began to discuss medications. I began to research the only medication Mac was on: a once a month, chemical-tablet called Trifexis.
I was not familiar with this drug but through online research, discovered several disturbing articles relating Trifexis side effects, such as: cancer, pancreatitis, blindness, seizures and so on. At least 700 dogs have died. Thousands have been sickened and disabled. That was four years ago. In the last few years, Trifexis has remained on the market and tens of thousands of dogs have continued to be poisoned, sickened and have died. Additionally hundreds of firsthand, anecdotal accounts were listed at the end of the articles by sad and angry pet owners.
Trifexis is manufactured by Elanco (a branch of Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company) and a combination of the flea-eliminating pesticide spinosad + the heartworm medication, milbemycin oxime. It is the monthly, beef-flavored tablet that is given to dogs in order to (according to the Elanco site), to:
“Kill fleas and prevents flea infestations, prevents heartworm disease, and treats and controls adult hookworm*, roundworm and whipworm infections. It’s an easy and effective way to get a little peace of mind, even if you don’t own 3 dogs. Trifexis is approved for use in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age or older and 5 pounds of body weight or greater.”
Possible side effects of Trifexis include: Pancreatitis, heart disease, vomiting, diarrhea, fly biting, (an air snapping behavior common in epileptic dogs), seizures, confusion, restless wandering, weakness in rear limbs; paralysis, lethargy, as well as, hypersensitivity, acting as if suddenly bitten, touchiness, itching, decreased appetite, rash, and reddening of the ears and/or skin.
The Trifexis-poisoning story I originally found was from Dec 23rd, 2013 article in Whole Dog Journal, with an update on June 15th 2017. (https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/Trifexis-Adverse-Effects-20898-1.html). It is a very incriminating and disturbing story about dog poisoning, sickness and deaths attributed to the use of Trifexis.
Mac’s story as it turns out is quite common. Most people are not paying close enough attention or questioning the possibility that the drug/poison given to their dogs once monthly in the form of a heartworm/flea eliminator called Trifexis – could be the cause. Here are a couple of actual stories of people who have experienced adverse effects from Trifexis.
“I gave all three dogs their monthly doses today and a few hours later one of my dog’s freezes… and when she tried to take a step she collapsed. I fell to the floor with her, holler for my son. I have her head in my lap but she could not move. Her body got cold like ice. We were frantically trying to think what she may have gotten into but came up with nothing. After a while it donned on me that she took the pill earlier and I knew EXACTLY what I was looking at: Trifexis toxicity. She threw up a couple times and it smelled like the pill (awful smell).
“My 1 year old Schnoodle…has been on Trifexis since she was 3 months old without any reactions…until last night. I gave her the exact dosage prescribed, exactly how it was to be given and four hours later I am rushing her to the Emergency clinic. The vet said that it was a reaction from the Trifexis”
One person commented on blood profile tests taken before Trifexis use and after, showing a clear poisoning correlation. A holistic veterinarian Will Falconer, DVM commented:
“Being so focused on making profits off their pesticide…they’ve never tested before and after blood values…” In fact, according to an April 13, 2014 article by Doctor Falconer:
“If you live in Canada, the UK, or Australia, your version of Trifexis is called Panoramis. And, if the name Trifexis scares you, you can get the very same product now under the name Comboguard.” Dr. Falconer continued:
“Elanco has sold well over 50 million doses as of November 2013…Elanco, and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medicine Association) right along with them, are spinning the story that tries to tell all these people that their animals who either died or got paralyzed or went blind right after taking Trifexis have no reason to blame the drug. This is largely based on necropsies (think autopsies on animals) reviewed by an “independent pathologist.”
That “independent” veterinary pathologist as it turns out was named Jeffery Engelhardt. He has worked for Eli Lilly for over 20 years. Dr. Falconer concluded with:
“How many non-reported deaths/illnesses have occurred – simply because the owners or attending vets didn’t make the connection between Trifexis and the deaths/illnesses?”
If you see symptoms (drug/poisoning side effects) and your dog is taking Trifexis, connect the dots. Better, stop this medication right away even if your dog is not showing in outward signs of illness.
Dog heroes like Dr. Falconer get ‘quacklisted’ when they speak out against the harm they see and enough people begin to follow their site. The Establishment (American Veterinary Medical Society and their education committee the pharmaceutical companies) then send out information meant to confuse people, create doubt, and discredit the source. They assure you that their medication (Trifexis in this case) could not possibly be causing your dog’s sickness or death. Anyone who questions the mainstream doctrine has their credibility attacked.
Our eyes do not deceive us. Direct experience, witnessing Trifexis being given, side effects manifesting as sickness in our dogs, cannot be denied. If you watch a TV promotional for a pharmaceutical medication, the comedic and bizarre side effect montage takes up the entire second half the infomercial. These side effects are often much worse than the condition in which the medication is being used. This is the case with Trifexis.
For many years now, the Eli Lilly-owned ‘Elanco’ has been able to keep their poisonous pesticide (disguised as a helpful flea and heart worm medication) on the market despite a growing number of dog illnesses and deaths directly linked to its use. How many more dogs are going to get sick and die before a stop sign is put up?!
Pet owners and dog lovers often treat their dogs better than they do themselves. Help spread the word and let us remove Trifexis from all veterinary prescriptions. This means that we have to educate our vets and not leave it up to the pharmaceutical companies.
As Peggy later said about Mac’s illness progression:
“Suddenly I remembered: The vet said to me that he was so sorry that I had two dogs with digestive problems. At the time I did not pick up on the real meaning behind that remark.” Only later, when Peggy and I talked, did she analyze why seven of her nine poodles did not have digestive problems. She realized that only her last two dogs did-and both were given Trifexis.
In 2005, Peggy got Jacque a white standard poodle. When he was about five years old he developed pancreatitis. The vet never knew why. From that time on she had to keep him on a low fat diet. When he was ten, he developed a large cancerous growth on the side of his stomach. He reached the point where he could no longer have food go from his stomach into the intestine. He had to be euthanized. Peggy further expressed:
“I also realized, in hindsight, that there were times when I delayed giving the Trifexis and then the stomach problems would recede. Then when I gave the Trifexis the problems would return.”
Instead of the last suspect, should we not first be looking at the drugs being given to our dogs in the form of medications?
Natural alternatives are available for ticks and fleas, like garlic. There are several alternative sites with more natural and non-harmful remedies available online, like Canine Health Concerns.
I am with Mac again. It is our 3rd week of treatment. He rests contentedly on top of my foot after a healing session. Unconditional goodness permeates the room. Peggy leans forward from her nearby chair and says:
“I am so happy Mac is doing better.” She paused, smiling. “He sure does love you.” A few tears of gratitude slid from my eyes as I looked up.
“Yes, and I sure love him.”
At the time of this writing, Mac and I are on our 3rd week of acupressure treatments. My red poodle buddy has picked up a few pounds, is eating regularly and continues to recover.
- Michael Harrington is a published writer with a background that includes 16 years working in the field of end of life care and over 20 years in the healing arts, including: acupuncture, yoga teacher, massage, meditation and spiritual inquiry. He has been practicing canine massage and acupressure for several decades.