Have you heard that Bravecto flea and tick medication is killing dogs? In a June 2015 Facebook post, a family reported that one of their dogs had died within a day of being given Bravecto chewables and that another of their dogs had nearly died after being given the same treatment at the same time. They also asserted that Bravecto chewables were responsible for the dog’s death and that several other dogs had died of liver and kidney failure shortly after taking the same medication.

No medical information from the sick or dead dog was provided showing or explaining a causal link between the dead dog and Bravecto other than a post hoc ergo propter hocassumption. A post hoc logic fallacy is committed when we assume that because one thing occurred after another, it must have occurred as a result of it. Of course, just because Event Y followed Event X, does not necessarily mean that Event Y must have been caused by Event X.

Two studies published March 2018 may help alleviate any concerns you might have about giving your dog Bravecto:

  1. The title of a comprehensive study in the March 2018 edition of the International Journal of Environmental & Agriculture Research (IJEAR) is “Bravecto chewable tablets have been thoroughly evaluated in multiple countries and are approved as a safe and effective flea, tick and mite treatment for dogs.
  2. An MIT study published in Science Magazine March 2018 found “falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information.” Fake news travels like wildfire on social media. Falsehoods were 70 percent more likely to be retweeted and the authors found, “It took the truth about six times as long as falsehood to reach 1,500 people.” When browsing the “news,” we all need put on our skeptic’s hat.

The negative and false rumors about Bravecto (fluralaner) causing dogs’ deaths started about one year after it was introduced to the veterinary market by Merck after extensive safety research and FDA approval in 2014. The research that resulted in FDA approval found there were no clinically-relevant, treatment-related effects, even at 5X the recommended dose. There are more than fifty peer-reviewed publications that provide expert scientific evidence of the safety and efficacy of fluralaner. In one study, dogs were dosed daily for one year (52 weeks) without a report of a serious adverse event. Additionally, an investigation into Bravecto by Snopes also put facts to the falsehoods, finding them UNPROVEN.

Flea and tick medication, Bravecto (fluralaner,) is a systemic antiparasitic drug given by mouth every 3 months. The medicine spreads through the bloodstream to all areas of the skin. It kills the flea or tick when it tries to bite and is then exposed to the active ingredient. It works by inhibiting the nervous system of insects. It does not have any effect on the nervous system of animals. In fact, it is excreted unchanged through the liver and kidneys. Bravecto has been available world-wide for over 3 years and over 75 million doses have been administered. The best most frequently reported adverse reaction in dogs in both the active control groups was vomiting.

The above referenced IJEAR article states Bravecto has been “thoroughly tested to international safety standards for veterinary drugs, meeting approval requirements for over 70 countries. This valuable antiparasite (fleas, ticks and mites) treatment contributes to the health of millions of dogs and promotes dog health worldwide by protecting them against dangerous parasite infestations that are known to lead to pathogen transmission, blood loss, local irritation, and skin allergies..” Flea and tick exposure poses a much more significant risk of transmitting a devastating disease to your pet or yourself.

The scientific literature convincingly shows that Bravecto offers a unique combination of long-lasting efficacy and safety for dogs and cats and provides multiple benefits for pet owners of by helping them to prevent dangerous parasite infestations with fleas, ticks, and mites. We will continue to confidently prescribe Bravecto for our patients and use it quarterly to treat all of our own dogs and cats.