Is Seresto flea collar killing your pets? Popular brand linked to nearly 1,700 cat and dog deaths, says report

The EPA took in more than 75,000 incident related to Seresto collars between 2012 and 2020


                            Is Seresto flea collar killing your pets? Popular brand linked to nearly 1,700 cat and dog deaths, says report
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A popular flea and tick collar has been linked to nearly 1700 pet deaths, according to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

A report by the organization published in USA Today on Tuesday laid out several documents from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that appeared to link Seresto flea and tick collars to thousands of pet deaths and injuries. Furthermore, the report detailed some human injuries as well.

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The EPA has received reports of at least 1,698 pet deaths related to the popular collar brand from 2012 to 2020. According to documents obtained by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, the environmental agency took in more than 75,000 incident reports related to Seresto collars in that time period. 

The documents emerged after a public records request made by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit organization that monitors the activities of the EPA. The documents were then reportedly provided to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, which is an independent, nonprofit newsroom.

According to Daily Paws, Seresto collars are available for a wide variety of cats and dogs. In order to get rid of any fleas, ticks, or other pests, the collars deposit small amounts of pesticide—imidacloprid and flumethrin—onto your pet's fur. The product packaging states that owners can leave the collar on for up to eight months for "odorless, non-greasy treatment that leaves your pet unharmed." 

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting spoke to some dog owners who wondered if their pets had died due to the collars. Ron Packard, from Massachusetts, lost his two previously healthy Cavachons within weeks of putting the collars on them. According to the report, he blamed the new Seresto collars for their deaths and started an online campaign with other pet owners who had had the same experience.

There are a couple of Amazon reviews by pet parents who describe symptoms attributed to the Seresto collars, including lethargy, skin irritation, incontinence, and loss of motor functions. However, the majority of reviews on the e-commerce platform are positive. Speaking to the Center for Investigative Reporting, Elanco spokeswoman Keri McGrath said that data from across the globe indicated that only one in every 568 Seresto users have reported an incident and they were mostly "related to non-serious effects such as application site disorders, e.g. a reddening of the skin or hair loss below the collar." Meanwhile, she also noted that the collar may not be the cause of certain issues reported by users. Elanco sells Seresto collars that are produced by Bayer.

"No pesticide is completely without harm, but EPA ensures that there are measures on the product label that reduce risk," an EPA spokesperson said, according to USA Today. "The product label is the law, and applicators must follow label directions. Some pets, however, like some humans, are more sensitive than others and may experience adverse symptoms after treatment."

Experts who spoke with the reporting center, however, expressed concerns about the combination of chemicals in the collars and how it may be affecting pets and their humans. Meanwhile, some accused the EPA of "turning a blind eye" to thousands of reported incidents.

"The EPA appears to be turning a blind eye to this problem, and after seven years of an increasing number of incidents, they are telling the public that they are continuing to monitor the situation," former EPA scientist Karen McCormack told the center. "But I think this is a significant problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later."
 

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