What is Trifexis Used for in Dogs?
Trifexis kills fleas and is therefore used for the prevention and treatment of flea infestations. It is also used to control and treat certain intestinal parasite species like hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. It also works to repel mosquitoes, thus preventing heartworm disease.
Manufactured by Elanco Animal Health, Trifexis comes in the form of a beef-flavored chewable tablet and is safe for dogs and puppies over eight weeks of age and more than five pounds of body weight. A single dose of Trifexis offers one month of protection.
What does Trifexis Cover for Dogs?
Trifexis is an FDA-approved preventative product for the control of fleas, intestinal worms, and heartworms. Here is a more detailed review of the parasites Trifexis covers.
Trifexis for Flea Control in Dogs. Trifexis is used to control, prevent, and treat flea infestations with the most commonly found cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). By preventing fleas, the medication is helpful in the avoidance of flea allergy dermatitis and flea-transmitted parasites (tapeworms).
Trifexis for Roundworm Infections in Dogs. Trifexis works against adult roundworms. Dogs get infected with roundworms through contact with contaminated items like and infected feces, and puppies can get them from their mothers. The two most common roundworms species are Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina.
Trifexis for Hookworm Infections in Dogs. Trifexis also protects dogs from adult hookworms. Dogs can infect if they ingest hookworm larvae while grooming or contact with contaminated feces and soil. Puppies can become infected by their mothers. The most common hookworm species in dogs is Ancylostoma caninum.
Trifexis for Whipworm Infections in Dogs. Trifexis is potent against adult whipworms too. Dogs can get whipworms if they ingest their eggs found in infected feces and contaminated soil. The most common whipworm species in dogs is Trichuris vulpis.
Trifexis against Heartworm Infections in Dogs. Trifexis is also used as monthly heartworm preventative. The product kills Dirofilaria immitis microfilariae and larvae and prevents them from maturing into adult heartworms. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition that requires lifelong management.
Extra-label, Trifexis can be used as part of the multimodal mange management in dogs with Demodex and Sarcoptes mite infection.
Does Trifexis Work on Tapeworms?
No, Trifexis does not work on tapeworms. The active ingredients in Trifexis are efficient against adult roundworms, adult hookworms, and adult whipworms. However, Trifexis has an indirect effect on tapeworms as it controls fleas that are tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) hosts.
Fleas are not the only source of tapeworm infections for dogs. Therefore, to ensure your dog is fully protected, you need a preventative medication with Praziquantel as an active ingredient.
How does Trifexis Work in Dogs?
Spinosad, one of the components of Trifexis, works by causing flea paralysis and death. It is a member of the spinosyns class of insecticides and classifies as a non-antibacterial tetracyclic macrolides.
The second active ingredient is Milbemycin Oxime, which is a macrocyclic lactone anthelmintic that acts as a GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter agonist. It blocks the signals to the nerve and muscle cells of parasites which results in either paralysis or starvation.
How Long does Trifexis Work?
Trifexis is a monthly treatment, meaning it protects dogs for up to one month, or 30 days. You must keep your dog up-to-date on its Trifexis protocol to ensure proper flea control and prevent intestinal worms and heartworm infections.
Do You Need a Vet Prescription for Trifexis?
Yes, you need a veterinary prescription to get Trifexis for your dog. There are many preventive products available over-the-counter. However, to ensure safe use, veterinary consultation is a must. Always talk to your vet and get a prescription to be on the safe side.
What are the Side Effects of Trifexis in Dogs?
A higher rate of vomiting is noticed when using Trifecta in puppies less than 14 weeks of age. Also, it must be noted that serious adverse reactions are observed during concomitant extra-label use of Ivermectin and Spinosad (one of the two components of Trifexis).
In some dogs with food sensitivities, Trifecta may trigger an allergic reaction. This is because the product includes soy-based beef flavoring.
To avoid potential side effects of Trifexis, the product should be used with caution in breeding females and epilepsy dogs. The safe use of Trifexis in breeding males is not evaluated, and you should discuss its use in pregnant and lactating females with the vet.
Due to the high risk of serious adverse reactions, Trifexis must not be used in:
- Dogs sensitive to the active ingredients
- Dogs with sensitive stomachs and food allergies
- Dogs on extra-label Ivermectin use.
If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior after using Trifexis, call your veterinarian and ask for further instructions.
Trifexis Dosage for Dogs
The minimum recommended dose of Spinosad for dogs is 13.5 mg/lb (30 mg/kg), and the dose of Milbemycin Oxime is 0.2 mg/lb (0.5 mg/kg). For convenience purposes, the Trifexis chewable tablets are available in several strengths for different dog size categories:
- Trifexis Chewable Tablet for Dogs, 5-10 lbs– 140 mg Spinosad and 2.3 mg Milbemycin Oxime
- Trifexis Chewable Tablet for Dogs, 10.1-20 lbs – 270 mg Spinosad and 4.5 mg Milbemycin Oxime
- Trifexis Chewable Tablet for Dogs, 20.1-40 lbs– 560 mg Spinosad and 9.3 mg Milbemycin Oxime
- Trifexis Chewable Tablet for Dogs, 40.1-60 lbs – 810 mg Spinosad and 13.5 mg Milbemycin Oxime
- Trifexis Chewable Tablet for Dogs, 60.1-120 lbs– 1620 mg Spinosad and 27 mg Milbemycin Oxime
If you have a dog that weighs more than 120 pounds of body weight, it is recommended to use a combination of these strengths.
Sticking to the Trifexis schedule reduces the risk of flea infestations and heartworm infections. If you accidentally miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember and continue with the new monthly schedule. Never give two doses at once because overdoses are possible.
A Trifexis overdose in dogs is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention. It manifests with vomiting, salivation, lethargy, coughing, tremors, and vocalization. If your dog shows such signs or you suspect an overdose, call Pet Poison Helpline or your trusted vet.
How Long does it Take for Trifexis to Work in Dogs?
According to the manufacturer (based on controlled laboratory studies), Trifexis starts working within 30 minutes of administrations and reaches 100% effectiveness within four hours.
Spinosad achieves significant flea reductions of 98.0 to 99.8% after three monthly treatments based on field studies conducted in home environments with heavy flea infestations.
Trifexis for Dogs Usage Guidelines
To ensure safe use of Trifexis, let’s discuss some helpful tips and special precautions. First, we must note that before the administration of Trifexis, you should test your dog for heartworm infections.
Also, Trifexis needs to be given at monthly intervals, starting within a month of the dog’s first exposure to mosquitoes and for at least three months after that last exposure. Giving less than three monthly doses after the last mosquito exposure does not ensure a complete heartworm prevention. For flea control, Trifecta should be started before they become active and until the end of the season.
For all-year-round protection, Trifexis can be started at any time and used without interruption in the form of consecutive monthly doses. If switching from other product to Trifexis, the first dose of Trifexis is given within a month of the former medications last dose.
For maximum effectiveness, the Trifecta chewable tablet should be given with food (whole or crushed into pieces). If mixing with food, make sure part of the dose is not lost. Alternatively, you can cover the tablet with peanut butter or put it directly into the dog’s throat (as it does not have to be chewed).
In case your dog vomits within an hour of administration, it is highly advisable to redose with a full dose of Trifexis. Therefore, you should closely monitor your dog after using Trifexis.
It is possible to see fleas for a period of time after administration of Trifexis, especially in cases of environmental infestations. This is due to the emergence of adult fleas from pupae from the environment. Also, do not worry if there are worms in your dog’s stool after dosing with Trifexis – it means the product is working and expelling the adult worms.
Last but not least, a word or two on proper storage. Always store Trifexis at room temperature, between 68° and 77° F away of direct heat, light, and moisture. Keep the chews in the original package out of reach of children and pets. In case of accidental ingestions, call your physician or vet.
Trifexis Alternatives for Dogs
Trifexis is a reliable product for preventing flea infestations, intestinal worms, and heartworm infections. However, if Trifexis is not the right choice for your dog, there are alternatives.
Sentinel for Dogs. Sentinel is a monthly preventative product available in the form of a flavored tablet. It contains Milbemycin Oxime and Lufenuron. Sentinel protects against fleas, intestinal worms like roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms, and heartworms.
HeartGard Plus for Dogs. HeartGard comes in the form of a beef-flavored chewable tablet and features two active ingredients, Ivermectin and Pyrantel. Therefore, Heartgard protects from roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms.
Advantage Multi for Dogs. Advantage Multi is another spot-on featuring two active ingredients, Imidacloprid and Moxidectin. Advantage Multi prevents heartworms, intestinal worms, fleas, ear mites, and two mange mite species (Demodex and Sarcoptes).
As you can see, Trifexis is an excellent preventive product, but there are also several safe and efficient alternatives. Which is best for your dog is something you need to discuss with your trusted veterinarian or veterinary pharmacist. The info in this article is educational and not a substitute for a professional opinion.