View Full Version : Pup Sickness after Frontline Treatment?

10th September 2012, 01:48 AM
Hey Guys/Gals

First let me introduce Riley, our new addition:http://imageupper.com/i/?S0200010010011O1347235998228375 :cool:

My wife and I brought home Riley on August 4th 2012. He was born July 4th and currently weighs 2.4 pounds

We had taken Riley to a local vet here near where we live to get his 2nd round of shots and other check up needs they saw appropriate. When we were there, we were given and told to give Riley HeartGuard and also to apply Frontline after two days of the visit for flea treatment. Being naive, we took the packets and trusted what they had told and given us. The day came 2 days after and we gave Riley half the heartguard and applied the Frontline. Riley seemed fine and we had to leave for an hour about 2 hours after applying the frontline. When we returned we noticed that he had thrown up in his crate. He still seemed energized and playful when we returned. However as the night went on he would throw up again a couple times and developed diarrhea. We worried so we called the vet we went to only to be transferred to there animal emergency hospital hotline and they told us the reaction had nothing to do with either of these products. We used some thought and figured it to be the case since he was fine all the days up to that point after applying these medications. We called the breeder that raised the pups and he was startled they told us to use Frontline on him at such a young age and weight. But we did read the pamphlet and it does state that dogs from 0-22 pounds and 8 weeks and older could take the medication. But the breeder seriously stated that it shouldn't have been given to him and to get in contact with another vet. After this he started to have episodes where he would shake his head vigorously and spit out water or whatever he was throwing up. After these little episodes though he would seem a little revived and wanted to play (shortly) but then would become lethargic again and just lay.

We took Riley too another vet and we explained everything and they stated that they actually wouldn't have given Riley either the frontline and the heartguard shouldn't of had any affect. He even stated they don't even carry the product at this place cause he claimed it didnt work. Anyway, we stayed there for a good 2 hours and the doc checked everything on Riley and said he was good in those areas (temp, glucose, esophagus check). So we took him back and the same happened at home. The head episodes, throwing up and diarrhea. He also didn't want to touch food or water so we immediately called the vet on call and he came in to check him out again. He said he would run some test to see if it is a viral problem and wanted to keep him there over night on a IV to keep fluid in him.

The next morning we came in and he said he seemed good (alert, little playful) but still was throwing up and having the head episodes so wanted to keep til the end of the day. He said all the tests he ran came out good and then came to say he really didn't know why he was reacting like he was and the underlying cause doing this and never seen another dog do this and still have all the other signs be so good or in line. So now he thinks we should see if we can run the process of waiting on letting the frontline getting out of his system and seeing if he improves. He has a little build up in his lungs cause he will cough a little bit but the vet says its from the IV. So what we are doing now and taken him to the vet during the day and leaving him and picking him up at night to take home to stay over night with us since noone is at the vet office over night.

So that's our story and we sort of stand behind that the frontline is causing this since most people we've spoken too said that it should have been given at the age and weight of our Riley. However since the vet can't really figure out whats going on inside of him and why he has the head shakes/spitting episodes, we thought we would come here and see if any of you had any insight on whats going on and if you know this is just affects of the frontline going through his system. Of course we know hes sick but are a little lost on whats going on and any info you guys have would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks to all of you in advance!

Also I am sorry for any of the typos and incorrect grammar as I (Adam) haven't had much sleep.
Adam & Jenn

10th September 2012, 02:58 AM
All I can say is YES topical flea/ tick medicine has made my cavalier very sick too. We have tried two different brands and both have made her sick. The last episode was this past July.She threw up and had diarrhea . She is 5 yrs old . We had given it to her once a few years earlier, and she got sick, so we did not give it to her again until this year (about 2 or 3 years later). I wanted to try it again because we were going to be in the mountains, and I was afraid of ticks, but like I said it made her very sick again However, it has also made my daughter's two little dogs very sick too she has 3 other dogs that do not get sick from it I have a pug and a cock-a-poo and the medicine doesn't affect them at all. I don't know why it affects some dogs and not others, but it does. I probably will never give it to my cavalier again

10th September 2012, 12:58 PM
If this problem is caused by the Heartguard or Frontline I'm thinking its some type of allergic reaction or something. Fletcher is 7 months old and I have been treating him with Heartguard and Frontline since I got him at 12 week old. I have never had a problem. You live in the south US so you know the bugs have been really bad this year. Heartguard prevents heartworms, they come from mosquitoes which everyone in the southern US has plenty of. Some dogs like some people are allergic to some products. Tho i agree your cavalier is pretty small and I personally wouldn't have given a whole dose of 0-22 lb Frontline. I feel as little chemicals that provide protection is usually best. The problem is #1 you have to wait until the Frontline works its way outta his system #2 there are so many ingredients/chemicals in Frontline you are never going to know exactly what is causing this problem. In the meantime you have got to get this puppy eating and drinking and keeping it down. I have read that cavaliers are prone to a lot of allergies, they are sensitive little dogs in so many ways.
I hope he gets better soon, I'm sure it is stressful to him and the whole family to be spending day after day at the vets.

Oh and there are "natural" ways to prevent fleas, tho I have read they do not work for ticks (which are a big problem fuzzy little dog small ticks are hard to find even when you are checking) also you can help the mosquito issue by planting lemon grass and other repelling plants just make sure they are not poisonous to dogs. And have regular testing for heartworms just in case.

10th September 2012, 06:56 PM
Sorry off topic a bit but...you brought your puppy home at FOUR weeks??..!

10th September 2012, 08:24 PM
Hello and welcome to the board.
If indeed your puppy was brought home at a month old,then you have a very serious problem on your hands.
Does your vet know that your puppy was removed from its mother and homed at such a very young age?
May I ask what your puppy was fed on when you brought it home?
When was he vaccinated?
I hope your puppy improves soon,but a vet needs to be advised of the puppy's history as your breeder has got it very badly wrong by rehoming a helpless baby at such an immature age..have any of the vets that you've seen commented on this?

Brian M
10th September 2012, 08:43 PM

Can you please confirm his age and weight when he came to you ,I seriously cant believe that and I dearly hope I am wrong for the baby Cavaliers sake
cos thats what he is and the only place for him is with his Mom for another 8 weeks .

11th September 2012, 04:14 AM
Sorry it was a typo and it was meant to say sept 4th

11th September 2012, 05:05 AM
Rose couldn't tolerate the Heartguard when she was little, not even a half- it made her throw up something awful. After 6 months, she could take it as long as it was with a meal, and now she's fine. I prefer it because it kills baby heartworms should any get by, as well as eggs, etc. The head shaking- did they check to see if he had- prepare yourself for the following: ewww and gah, but, it can happen with severe vomitting- gotten any vomit in his sinuses? I've done that before (long story, but I have a history of intestinal blockages/adhesion issues, so- been there, done that!) It is a VERY unpleasant feeling, and then when it finally makes it's way back down the back of your throat, you gag/urp all over again,:grnyuk: and if you're really lucky, your Eustachian tubes get hit too (don't know if this happens in dogs)... I hope he's feeling much better very soon! (And hello from your neighboring state-AL. St. Simon is on my wish list of vacation spots :) .)

Brian M
11th September 2012, 08:15 AM

Thanks for the confirmation it was a typo I can put my heart tablets back .

11th September 2012, 03:16 PM
I think it's going to be hard to poinpoint what excactly has happened here.

It does strike me that 1) your vet is using old vaccination guidelines. For a puppy to be on its second set of vaccinations at only 8 weeks is very hard on the immune system and also, if the puppy was reared by its mother until the point when you got it, a waste of vaccinations and of your money-- there's strong evidence that puppies are protected till over 8 weeks of age from their mother. Also, many would not recommend also giving two doses of chemicals on top of that -- I would spread all of those medications out and make sure they were at least a week or 2 after vaccinations. I didn't realise that heart medications could be started so early (we don't have heartworm in the UK and Ireland so we don't treat for it).

I must say, the approach of vets is totally exasperating still when it comes to dousing animals with chemicals and over vaccinating when even their national professional bodies no longer recommend annual vaccinations. You'd be pretty hard put to find a single vet practice that would say that an annual booster is not 'necessary'. Cavaliers are known to be a breed–like most small breeds–that can have more reactions to vaccinations, so it is common sense that a minimal vaccination schedule, and one that doesn't start when the puppies are really young, is likely the safest and best approach.

Perhaps the illness is a response to all of that happening at once. Perhaps it is totally unrelated, and there is something else going on. Perhaps it is Frontline–I would probably avoid using it at any rate as there are other approaches to managing fleas–different products (just don't use the over-the-counter ones available in pet shops as some of those ingredients carry risks).

For current vaccination recommendations, see:


However Dr Jean Dodds, generally seen as the global expert on vaccination, recommends puppies that were reared with the mother, received their 1st vaccine at 9 to 10 weeks of age, then only every 3 years (or less) AFTER the one year booster.


I hope you're able to find an answer as to what is going on, and that your puppy improves quickly, so that you can relax and start to enjoy him fully.

Incidentally, your vet should file an official report to the company that makes Frontline so that they have a record of adverse reactions–and probably should do the same for the vaccine, as it seems to me that the reaction could be to either?

One other possible thing to think about–is there any possibility that he is having a chemical/neurological reaction to something that is in your house? A cleaning product, for example? It is odd that he only has the problem when he goes back to the house, but not when he is at the vet.

11th September 2012, 04:40 PM
Hi, I've heard of several reactions to Frontline ranging from what you described to even death. The product is a neurotoxin and I feel there are safer options (esp when you have a neurologically compromised pup like I do). Comfortis is great, more "natural" and protects against fleas. You can do a tick collar to protect against ticks. Personally, I've heard of too many horror stories from Frontline. I hope your little guy improves.

11th September 2012, 05:15 PM
Just fyi ;) , heartworm medications are dewormers, not heart meds (we used many of the same meds as dewormers in our horses). Heartworms are very prevalent in the southeastern United States especially, and if your dog goes outside, they need to be on the preventative year 'round here. In the northern states, you can get away with using it only during mosquito season, but it depends on your area and your vet's recommendations. Treatment for heartworms is a long and lengthy, not to mention difficult, treatment (my dad adopted a German Shepherd from a man who needed to find find him a home, and we had to go through this treatment plan with the GS). Our boxer (who already had severe aortic stenosis) came from the pound with what was thankfully a very mild case of it (2 or 3 worms, instead of an infestation) and her cardiologist and vet recommended putting her on Heartguard to kill any new ones, and let the 2 or 3 die off naturally (I think it takes about a year).

11th September 2012, 05:22 PM
Oops -- didn't mean to imply otherwise! I'd call them heart medications as they are deworming medications specifically for the heart. :) But in a breed where so many are on other medications for heart function, that's easily confusing. :thmbsup: Better to say 'heartworm medications' and avoid any misunderstanding.

On tick collars: my understanding is that tick and flea collars are a lot worse in terms of risk as the chemicals are held right against the neck for weeks? Also they can end up on people at high concentration levels.

http://www.rodale.com/chemicals-flea-and-tick-collars and the original recent report here:


Also: http://www.examiner.com/article/flea-and-tick-collar-dangers

12th September 2012, 03:30 PM
Hey guys,

Thanks for all your answers and resources you have provided.

Our little man Riley passed on Monday night at the Vets. He headed south pretty rapidly on Monday afternoon even on 24 hour care on IV's and antibiotics. My wife and I have had a rough time dealing with this and can't get any answers from the vet or breeder as they state they have no idea what went wrong and happen.

Karlin - I think they were going by the 6-9-12-15 week for vaccinations. So Sept 4th from July 4th is around 9 weeks I believe.

Also want to state that we aren't advocating Frontline as what did this and don't want for people that are using or advised to use it to think there is some sort of relation. We just took the fact Riley got sick after this was applied.

Thsi is the hardest thing to deal with in a while

12th September 2012, 05:04 PM
Oh no- I am so, so sorry!!!! (((hugs)))

12th September 2012, 06:22 PM
Oh no -- this is really terrible. I'm so sorry. This must be avery difficult time for you.

Will they try and determine the cause? It does sound like it could be the Frontline, perhaps in combination with his young age and the recent vaccination plus heart meds. But puppies can get into many dangerous things too like eating slug pellets or chocolate or raisins, which can all be fatal as well.

I would really push to have the death reported as a possible complication of Frontline and/or of his vaccinations.

You would tend to think possibly the Frontline given that others have reported these neuropathic signs in older dogs.

This is a terrible tragedy. :(