Bravecto: Reported Side Effects Pet Parents Should Know About

Six years after initial concerns, pet owners are still worried about potential Bravecto side effects. 

Pet parents know they need to use preventative measures each month to keep their furry friends flea and tick free. But there has been on going concern with one major brand, Bravetco and it's side effects. Bravecto is a flea and tick solution for your dog or cat. You administer the dosing once every three months. Upon application it kills ticks and adult fleas within hours. It provides protection against flea and tick infestations for longer than most flea and tick medications and comes in a topical solution as well as chewable tablets.

According to Merck, the dog Bravecto protects from American dog tick, brown dog tick, and the black legged tick for up to 12 weeks. Your dog is suscpetable to the lone star ticks within eight weeks. Your cat is also safe from flea infestations for up to 12 weeks. Dogs should be between 8 and 9 weeks before their first dose, while cats can be six months of age and older.

Initial Adverse Events

In 2015, Pet Helpers posted on Facebook that a family who adopted one of their dogs they believed their dog had an adverse reaction to the new flea and tick medication.The dog had just had his dose of bravecto chews. The dod died a day later. A few days after, the familys other dog. became very sick and almost died as well. The family claimed that the chews caused liver and kidney failure, which also caused the death of many other dogs.

A 2014 study on beagles determined that the tables where safe for the pups. Some of the dogs did have side affects such as diarrhea with mucous and blood in their feces. Most often the reaction happened within six hours of their dose. One dog vomitted four hours after their dose, while another dog has weight loss and lack of appetitie about five days after their first dose. But, veterniarians and the company said the drug was still considered safe.

This spured a field study in 2019 into the safety of Bravecto and it's active ingredient and its affects on dogs. Bravecto contains the pesticide, fluralaner. The ingredient is in multiple tick products and help prevent the pest from coming back.

The study at the affects on the drug on your dogs nervous system. Per the safety study, signs of toxicity are things like a tremor, ataxia, and convulsions. Fluralaner does interact with the Cys-loop receptors in the vertebrate which does interact into the nervous system. But the study did conslude that it has a decent safety record and adverse reactions only happen on limited

Drug Resistence In Some Breeds

Some dogs, like Collies, Austailian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdogs, Longhaired Whippets, and White Swiss Shepherd's have genetic mutation called MDR1 which leads to higher occurances of drug toxity.

If you are concerend about flea and tick medication and its potential interaction with your dog, ask your vet about the breed and if testing for the MDR1 variant.

Disclosure Updates

Due to some of the contreversary, the FDA had Merck update their disclosures on the drug to include some of the protential side affects, including the occurance of neurological events.

In 2019, the FDA released a fact sheet discussing the affects of Isoxazoline based flea and tick medications.  Simparica, Nexgard, Bravecto and Credelio are all drugs in the isoxazoline class.

The Food and Drug Administration called for new labeling stating:

"The FDA is working with manufacturers of isoxazoline products to include new label information to highlight neurologic events because these events were seen consistently across the isoxazoline class of products. Revolution Plus, which was approved most recently, includes the new labeling information to highlight the potential for neurologic events in the isoxazoline class, and Merial has made the requested changes to Nexgard's labeling including adding the new class statement."

Dogs with a history of seizures and lactating dogs need to consult with their veternarians to see if it is safe to take medications in this class. Bravecto says the drug did not cause the reaction, but did offer to pay for the visit if she signed a release.

Continuing Controversy

Bravecto users has even brought a lawsuit agaisnt the company at the end of 2019. Valerie Plamieri is one of the plantiffs who claims her dog Jake, a German Shepherd, took the chewable tablet and became lethargic. He then could no longer walk, and Plamieri rushed him to the vet for treatment.

Plameiri took Jake to a neurologist after her vet said his episode and meningitis was likely a because of Bravecto toxicity. The lawsuit also cites the FDA's fact sheet and calls attention to the neurological affects of the medication.

On top of the lawsuit there is also a petition on to pull the medication from market, since the drug has presumably caused side effects, reactions, and deaths. The facebook group, Does Bravecto Kill Dogs?, is still very active with almost 51,000 members. There members discuss recent updates with the drug and share information about their own experiences with Bravecto.

Bottom Line: Is Bravecto Safe or Not? 

According to the FDA and Merck Animal Health, Bravecto chews and Bravecto topical are perfectly safe for dog owners to use on thier pups. The single dose solution will kill fleas and ticks on a monthly basis.

Many veternarians feel like the medication is still a viable option for pets, despite the reported reactions and side effects.

What tick and flea prevention medication do you use for your dogs? Tell us over on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page! 

This story was originally published in February 2019. 

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