Is Bravecto Safe for Dogs (the true side effect risks)?
Is Bravecto safe for dogs? What are the true risks of serious side effects that include seizures?
After the recent FDA memo, it’s worth re-evaluating the flea and tick treatment you use to make sure your dog is receiving the best product suitable for them.
Given the warning in September 2018 by the FDA regarding Nexgard, etc., which indicate potential negative side effects, which product would you recommend for Bella who also has Chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM)
And my next question is from Renee and is all about the safety of the parasite-killing isoxazoline class of drug.
The Bravecto warning
So let's start off with the fact that the FDA released a memo about the isoxazoline class of drugs, which includes the products Nexgard, Bravecto, Simparica and Credelio. The specific warning was to be aware of the potential for neurological side-effects, including seizures. These drugs all fall under that isoxazoline class of drug and these drugs are used to treat and prevent flea infestations and also to kill ticks.
Bravecto side effects
And when they were first released, the recognized side effects really were diarrhea, vomiting, drooling and inappetence, but over time it's become apparent that there are very rare instances of muscle tremors, wobbliness and even seizures in dogs taking these drugs.
The incidence is very, very low so it's important not to over exaggerate them, but it doesn't always include dogs that have had a previous history of seizures. So if a dog who's had seizures before, you might expect them to be more effective. But actually some dogs have had seizures who haven't had a history of that in there in their past.
I think we shouldn't be using these classes of drug in dogs with epilepsy, and probably it's a good idea to be cautious if there is a history of seizures or if there’s felt to be a high risk of a dog developing seizures over and above what that normal risk was would be.
Now this FDA alert was really to publicize the potential risks of these drugs rather than to report previously unknown potential side effects.
Is Bravecto safe?
So it's been known that these classes of drugs can cause neurological signs, but really they are still considered safe and they're still considered an effective treatment because the risk of this is very, very low.
Any drug that we give, and I've said this kind of time and again, has the potential to cause side effects. We shouldn't lose focus of the fact of why we're giving these drugs in the first place.
Alternative flea and tick prevention
That said, there are plenty of other flea prevention and treatment products out there that are very effective. They will all come with their own risk of side effects as well, though much like these isoxazoline drugs the risk is very, very small.
There are also several other tick products although, in my mind, really the only one that is just about as effective as this class of drug is the Seresto collar.
So there are other drugs that are licensed to kill ticks and to prevent ticks from biting and feeding but really, in my experience, they're not nearly as effective or as rapid in their ability to kill ticks as either Bravecto, Nexgard and Simparica, or the Seresto collar so long as that’s applied properly and it's renewed when it needs to be renewed.
I think isoxazolines have been revolutionary in our ability to prevent tick bites and to kill ticks much more rapidly and much more effectively and reliably and so prevent tick-borne disease.
The best treatment for your dog
Now the best product to use for any individual dog really depends on the local risk of parasites and the diseases that they can potentially carry, which are present in some areas but not others.
If you're wondering about ticks in particular, for a rundown of ticks, especially in relation to Lyme disease, then be sure to check out my post giving a complete rundown on preventing Lyme disease in dogs.
The bottom line is that Nexgard, Brevecto, Simparica they are very effective drugs. They do a very good job of both preventing flea infestations, treating flea infestations and killing ticks. They do a much better job than the vast majority of other tick products out there and although there is a risk of developing tremors and even seizures the risk is very, very, very low. It's something like less than 1 in 10,000 dogs will experience this, and it's likely to be much lower.
So while we need to bear all of these things in mind and if your dog is epileptic, we should definitely be cautious but we don't want to over exaggerate the risks when there are potential benefits, and when we're using them to prevent diseases like Lyme disease, which are potentially fatal.
The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.
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