Seizure Risks and Flea Preventatives

A news story came out last week about one of the active ingredients ( Isoxazoline ) in the flea preventatives Bravecto, Credelio, Nexguard and Simparica and we thought it would be a good idea to let our Maui ohana know where we stand on the warning. The bottom line is that the study which was publicized on TV was not new, but caused a lot of alarm. What the study was actually driving at was that if your dog already has seizures, this medication had a 0.5% possibility of making them more frequent. This only makes it more important to have a trusting relationship with your veterinarian, to let us know what’s going on with your pets and to not rely on the internet, online pharmacies or big box retailers to help make the best healthcare decisions for your family. Please do not stop your preventative healthcare routines without talking to your doctor first. If you are concerned about seizure activity, we have other options available and are happy to guide you.

All flea preventatives in this class of medication work by inhibiting neuro-transmitter channels in the central nervous system – specifically, the GABA gated channels. The sensitivity of insects and ticks to GABA channels in this class of drugs is much higher than in mammals such as dogs or cats.

This means that dogs and cats are much less likely to have any issues with this medication than insects. Keep in mind, all medications can cause adverse effects, we just need to be aware of the potential risks involved. Please do not stop your preventative all together, as fleas and ticks carry potentially deadly and common diseases. We have different options for flea preventatives which do not contain Isoxazoline and could be a good choice for patients where seizures are a concern. This is where an experienced team of doctors who put your pet’s well being first comes in. We’re trained to understand a complete medical picture of where your furry family stands today, and to evaluate any potential risks from any and all medications versus the benefits they will produce. What’s right and best for one pet may not be the best choice for all and having an experienced veterinarian who takes the time to know your animals and you makes all the difference in what we will recommend and how we work to keep you safe. Online pharmacies and Costco might be able to save you a few bucks, but they simply do not have the training or relationships with you and your fur family to be able to make the most informed recommendation on medications.

The package inserts in these flea preventatives address the issue of seizures. The Nexguard insert reads:
“In the US field study, one dog with a history of seizures experienced a seizure on the same day after receiving the first dose and on the same day after receiving the second dose of NexGard. This dog experienced a third seizure one week after receiving the third dose. The dog remained enrolled and completed the study. Another dog with a history of seizures had a seizure 19 days after the third dose of NexGard. The dog remained enrolled and completed the study. A third dog with a history of seizures received NexGard and experienced no seizures throughout the study.”
This was out of 615 dogs in the study. This means that the three dogs listed represented less than 0.5% of the dogs in the study, and the 3 dogs had a prior history of seizures.

Our only mission is to keep your pets and the rest of your family healthy and safe. As always, we are here to help, to answer your questions and to guide each individual pet parent in making the best decisions for their unique situation. Fleas and ticks spread deadly diseases which we see all too frequently, so please speak with us before making the decision to stop your regular preventative.

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