Flea medication and seizures

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Little Angel
Barked: Thu Nov 5, '09 11:59am PST 
Long story short, Angel and Rocket got fleas. I put Advantix on them (prescribed from my vet.) About 12 hours afterwards Rocket had a seizure.

Naturally, it was a panicky day full of lots of crying and worrying. But, as of now, he is perfectly fine and back to normal. I washed the crap off both him and Angel. Angel didn't seem to have any sort of side effects, but I didn't want to chance it.

We took Rocket to the vet and the vet said he highly highly doubts it was the Advantix, though he did admit that it seems to be the only explanation other than epilepsy. We did a blood test and everything came back good. He told us to give him advantix again next month and see if he has another seizure (LIKE...NO). So we went home with a diagnosis of "probably epilepsy."

He's two...healthy as a horse, never had any problems after we got his tapeworms and lyme disease cleared up. The unanimous consensus of all my friends and family is that it was probably the advantix, including my father who has worked in the health system as an Paramedic. (No, he isn't a doctor or vet, but he knows a thing or two about what makes living organisms tick and has three dogs himself.) I checked with my apartment company and they called the people that do the landscaping and confirmed there were no pesticides put on the grounds. My roommates obsessively checked the house to see if he COULD get into anything and we didn't find anything that would be harmful within his reach, and there was nothing.

My family called their vets for second opinions (three different ones, I was suprised how supportive my family was of Rocket,) and all the other vets said the same thing...they never heard of a dog having a seizure on prescribed medication and it was odd. I wanted to take him in for a second opinion (and I still might,) but I'm starting to think the vet is just going to tell me the same thing.

So now I'm really worried...I don't know whats safe to give my pups. Naturally I would turn to my vet, since they are supposed to work with this stuff...but they are telling me to give it to him again...I'm not comfortable with that. This is a freakin nightmare.

So, now that they have fleas...any advice what I could give them that would be safe? Obviously I've been obsessively vacuuming my house twice a day, but other than that, I don't know. Flea collars? I've heard they were bad...but how much worse can it be than getting a seizure?

Edited by author Thu Nov 5, '09 12:00pm PST

Tanuk CGC

Sherpa Tanuk of- Everest
Barked: Thu Nov 5, '09 5:34pm PST 
I'm going to agree with your vet and say I doubt it's the Advantix. His reaction would have been in less than two hours, likely even immediate if it was the flea meds. Tanuk had a seizure when he was about 6 months old. It was early in the morning just after he woke up and completely random. He has not had one since and there was no identifiable trigger for it. Sometimes seizures just happen. Mark it on the calendar so you can keep track in case he has another one. For future I'd try a flea medicine that uses a different ingredient just to be safe though.

Barked: Thu Nov 5, '09 5:55pm PST 
Hey Angel! wave

I just googled Advantix+seizures and tons of pages came up....I'm by no means an expert but it does have chemicals in it so I wouldn't say it's out of the question even though it was 12 hours later.

We've used Comfortis with great success and I also put food grade diatomaceous earth in their food every night or on them if I see them itching a lot, it works mechanically instead of chemically for fleas and internal parasites. You can read more about it here:


I found a local pet food store that sells it here, otherwise I would have ordered some.

Hope this helps and there are no more seizures! blue dog

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Thu Nov 5, '09 6:21pm PST 
One of my dogs has a seizure within a half hour of receiving his heartworm preventative. My vet wouldn't believe it, so I took him up, gave him the pill, and voila, one half hour later he was seizing. BUT... he is from a line and a breed with known seizures, and he has had occasional seizures without the trigger. We still give him the HW preventative since contracting heart worm would be worse than a seizure, and there aren't a lot of other options for HW preventative.
At two years old, Angel is the right age and one of the right breeds to be exhibiting hereditary epilepsy. Normally it shows up at around 18 to 24 months old.
I, too, agree that 12 hours is pretty late to show up from the flea meds... and since they had mostly all been absorbed in less than 12 hours I would expect him to have continued having seizures if it were the flea preventative.

Code name:- Farmcollie
Barked: Thu Nov 5, '09 6:43pm PST 
Toto, the OP said it was Rocket that seized, not Angel.

OP, what kind of a dog is Rocket?
Poquito- ♥

Die- Cancer,- Die!
Barked: Thu Nov 5, '09 6:49pm PST 
I don't see Rocket on your page, but one of the first triggers I found with Pokie was Frontline. It got to the point where I couldn't let him cuddle with the cats for at least the first 24 hours after I put it on THEM, or he would seize. Different animals react to different things, but Pokie reacted both to Frontline and Heartgard. Our best defense was to treat the yard with beneficial nematodes to control the flea population at the source, and we do give Comfortis to Jasper and we wash, vacuum and otherwise stay after all the indoor areas of bedding, etc. That's what works for us. Good luck!

Little Angel
Barked: Thu Nov 5, '09 10:41pm PST 
Rocket is a sibe husky/white german shepherd mix.

Since he's my roommate dog I haven't gotten around to making a page for him. (Well, specifically, he was OUR dog when we were together, but we decided when we separate residences Rocket will be his and Angel will be mine.) But, since I talk about him so much on the forums I might as well. smile
Roxy Marie

<333 Life Can't- Get Any Better!- <333
Barked: Fri Nov 6, '09 2:06am PST 
I delivered Roxy and have had her the day she was born. I was always skeptical of heart worm prevention and flea and tick prevention. I felt like I was putting pesticides on her and into her. Never used any and we've had no problems with fleas, ticks, heart worms or otherwise.

She is three and a very healthy and active dog. Last month her vet convinced me to use heart worm prevention. I decided to use Interceptor but still opted out on the flea and tick prevention. Less than 24 hours after giving her the first dose I woke up to her falling against the wall, fighting for her breath and very disoriented. I tried to get her to stand and she fell right back down. She was very very weak and tired for about three days afterward. I questioned the vet about Interceptor causing this. He said no way that she must of gotten into something. Problem was is that there is nothing to get into... everything is put up and puppy-proofed on account of our 7 month old puppy.

After a battery of tests and $800 later he did not have an answer.. just said to keep a close watch in case of possible epilepsy.

We switched vets.

Her new vet said that there are cases in which flea, tick and heart-worm prevention can lead to fainting and seizures.. its rare but it happens. Needless to say Roxy is not receiving anything right now. The new vet tried to get me to switch to something else. But I am so scared to make that step. These side affects can cause brain damage and even death. I realize that she is at risk for heart-worm disease but its a fork in the road and both paths are dangerous.... cry
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Fri Nov 6, '09 10:35am PST 
Sorry, Angel... didn't notice that. But, unfortunately, both German Shepherds AND Huskys are breeds also prone to epilepsy, so with Rocket's age, it could still be the beginning of hereditary epilepsy, and merely a coincidence.

Edited by author Fri Nov 6, '09 10:36am PST


Hi There, Will- you be my New- Bestfriend?
Barked: Fri Nov 6, '09 10:47am PST 
Ive never heard of Flea meds causing seizures, but heartworm sometimes has. Manny is epileptic. Just keep a diary of what happened and if it happens again. It could be epilepsy, just keep an eye out.
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