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WARNING: The Seresto Flea Collar Has Been Linked To Almost 1,700 Pet Deaths!
If your pet wears Seresto flea collars, remove the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian for the next steps.
Updated By: Catie Kovelman, 06/16/2022
Pet Parents beware! Thanks to more than 86,000 incident reports, Seresto Flea and Tick collars have now been directly linked to more incidents of harm than any other product in the history of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Seresto flea and tick collars were designed to be an easy and convenient way for pet parents to protect their dogs and cats from harmful pests. Once placed around the pet's neck and activated, the flea collars work by slowly releasing two pesticides for up to eight months. The pesticides used by the collars, which are imidacloprid and flumethrin, are supposed to kill fleas and ticks without harming pets or the humans who love them. Unfortunately, this doesn't always seem to be the case.
Seresto collars were initially introduced to the pet supplies marketplace in 2012 by Bayer Animal Health, and have since been bought by Elanco Animal Health, which is the current maker of the flea collars. But from 2012 to 2020, the EPA has received more than 75,000 incident reports related to the collars, including almost 1,700 related pet deaths and nearly 1,000 incidents where humans were harmed due to contact with the Seresto flea collars. The Seresto flea and tick collars have been linked to causing seizures, skin irritation and rashes, neurological issues, and even death. Despite these incidents, the EPA has not yet issued any warnings to make pet owners aware of the risks associated with using the Seresto flea collars and there have been no recalls for the collars. Elanco Animal Health continues to insist that the collars are safe and effective.
Now, the government is starting to get involved. A congressional report released earlier this month raised the number of incidents, linking the collar to almost 100,000 incidents and 2,500 pet deaths, spurring some lawmakers to call for a product recall. But it hasn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to sell Seresto flea collars despite receiving numerous complaints and negative reviews about the product from customers who detailed significant issues. Some retailers are offering a voluntary recall if pet parents would like to return their Seresto pet collar, but until an official recall has been issued, it's up to each store to determine its own policies.
Ultimately, it’s the EPA’s job to regulate products that contain pesticides. There may have been delays in warning the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic when the EPA didn’t receive 11,000 new complaints regarding the safety of the Seresto flea and tick collar because EPA offices were closed. The EPA didn’t realize it was missing the reports until its offices reopened and months had passed. However, it doesn’t seem like any warning or recall will be coming soon. In articles that have been released about the situation, an unnamed EPA spokesperson explained that the pesticides used in Seresto Collars have “been found eligible for continued registration” based on available science and current incident reports. In addition, the spokesperson added that no pesticide use is ever completely risk-free and it’s up to the pet owners to follow instructions on the product labels to help ensure safety. That said, many people in the pet community feel that the EPA is turning a blind eye to a bigger issue and that the Seresto flea collars are more dangerous than the public is being led to believe.
Even if we never get an official warning, it’s your duty as a pet parent to look out for the wellbeing of your fur baby. Now that this information has come to light, you’ll likely want to switch to a new method of flea and tick prevention if you currently use Seresto flea and tick collars. If your pet has been using the Seresto flea & tick collar, remove it immediately, especially if they are showing possible negative side effects. The collars should be sealed in plastic and thrown away via a household hazardous waste collection program if the product isn’t fully used up. If the product is completely used and empty, it can be wrapped in paper and thrown in your normal trash. The key thing to remember is that the product should not enter watercourses.
After the collar is removed and your pet is safe from immediate harm, contact your veterinarian for the next steps. Your vet will be able to address any negative side effects your pet may be suffering from, and can suggest safer products that you can use for flea and tick prevention. There are many topical gels and treat-like medications that can be applied to your pet's fur or taken once a month to protect them from fleas and tick bites without exposing them to pesticides.
That said, dogs who have been using this popular flea collar without incident and have not yet had an adverse reaction are not likely to have a problem now. If your dog has not experienced an adverse event while using the Seresto collar, some vets say it's okay to continue using the collars as usual. But if this recent news about the Seresto flea collar isn't sitting right with you, we recommend talking to your vet about changing your furry friend's flea medication to lower the risk of pet harm.
Most flea treatment options do require a prescription from your vet, but these are some of our favorites that you could ask about. If you go through the Chewy pharmacy, you can easily order your pet’s flea treatment online and Chewy will get permission from your vet for you and ship your order once your vet approves.