DEAR DR. FOX: With great interest, I'm reading through all the information on your website, particularly your post on flea and tick insecticides. It contains a lot of useful information that pet owners should know before using these poisons.
For us, it's too late: Our vet gave one tablet of NexGard Spectra to our 4-month-old puppy, Obi, during his first checkup. Twelve days later, he started having seizures.
Currently, he's being hospitalized for the second time. He was given Keppra to control the seizures, which worked for a few days. But a couple of days after we stopped the meds, it started all over again and we ran him back to the hospital.
It has been a struggle so far convincing vets that the cause of the trouble is the NexGard pill. They just have trouble believing it, or they tell you it's extremely exceptional. Last weekend, we were lucky to get a neurologist who really listened and did not rule out the possibility of the NexGard story -- although she told me she was having trouble with the timing between application and the symptoms showing.
The veterinary college neurology specialist has completed brain MRI and brain fluid tests, and reported finding nothing abnormal.
Yesterday, we received an update that Obi was indeed probably poisoned by the NexGard. I've been searching day and night over the last week to get as much info as possible on the product -- adverse effects, half-life of the toxin, etc. -- in order to provide any info I can to the team caring for Obi.
My next step would probably be a full detox. I've been given a lot of suggestions -- one vet advised me to give Obi milk thistle, chlorella and other supplements -- but I can't confirm if the dosages are correct for Obi's weight, and whether it's safe to mix the supplements with his Keppra.
I had asked to do a blood transfusion, and that's an option, though they've warned me about the possible development of pancreatitis. Our previous dog went through months of hell with pancreatitis, so I don't want to risk that with our pup.
I'll be discussing all this with the team at the university vet hospital here, and would like your view on it, as well. I'm just trying to get decent, reliable info on how to help our Obi. -- D.A., Ninove, Belgium
DEAR D.A.: I am glad that some of my writings on this issue are spreading around the world. No pup as young as yours should have been given this product.
For detox and additional seizure control, I recommend giving Obi 1 teaspoon of coconut oil twice daily in his food, and 3 mg of melatonin midmorning and in the evening. I have emailed a veterinary expert on this issue, Dr. W. Jean Dodds, to advise you further on the detox; she will send you her articles and advice.
Belgium is no different from many other countries where veterinarians -- along with drug and grocery stores -- are selling insecticides for people to give to their cats and dogs. They consider that the benefits of preventing fleas and ticks outweigh the risks of a few dogs and cats having acute adverse reactions. But what of the long-term effects on animals' health and the environment that they inevitably contaminate? Not to mention rapidly evolving insect resistance, and the die-off of insect-controlling birds poisoned from eating contaminated bugs.
NexGard Spectra, from German company Boehringer Ingelheim, does some innovative research into improving farmed animal productivity and efficiency with vaccines and various drugs, including parasiticides. But this industry is unsustainable; the petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals involved are harming both the environment and the human populace.
It took a lot of time and money for concerned people just to get some of these insecticides to be labeled with their possible seizure and other health risks. Pet owners who purchase these insecticides do so against my advice. I offer many other preventive measures on my website (drfoxonehealth.com). In my opinion, no one should purchase these products from any other source than a veterinarian who will guarantee full compensation by the manufacturers for any veterinary-verified adverse reactions.
As a final note, I hope you will question any billing from the neurologist, whose tests I consider dubious, at best.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)