Seresto Flea Collar: A popular way to prevent fleas, ticks for your pet. But could it cause health problems?
The Seresto Flea Collar is a popular way to prevent fleas and ticks. Over 30 million have been sold. But could the collar cause serious health problems for your pet or even death?
Rhonda Bomwell certainly thinks so. She tells Kane In Your Corner she’s still haunted by the death of her dog, Pierre.
“He had this massive seizure right in front of me,” Bomwell says. “His eyes just rolled back. And his tongue came out of his mouth. And he let out this horrible scream.”
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Bomwell says Pierre, a 9-year-old Papillon who was in good health, died just 12 hours after she put a Seresto Flea Collar around his neck, at the suggestion of her veterinarian.
“It’s not an injection, and it's not a pill, and it's a collar, and my thinking was if anything ever goes wrong, you can just take it off them,” Bomwell explains.
She blames the collar for his death, and she’s not alone. The Environmental Protection Agency has received 98,000 complaints about Seresto Flea Collars since they went on the market in 2012. Nearly 2,500 involve pets that died. But the collars have never been recalled.
Some pet owners have filed class-action lawsuits, saying the current manufacturer, Elanco Animal Health, and the former manufacturer, Bayer, failed to warn consumers of potentially “serious adverse health consequences.”
“We absolutely need EPA to start looking into these products,” says Nathan Donley, environmental health services director with the Center for Biological Diversity.
The Kane In Your Corner investigation finds some EPA scientists are not happy with how the agency handled complaints. In internal emails, one says, “I hope… someone can blow the lid of this travesty”.
And an administration describes how he and another employee “were pulled aside (by) a manager… to be told, off the record, to not mention Seresto in emails.”
“People have just been screaming at the top of their lungs, basically trying to get management to take notice of this product, and nothing's worked,” Donley says.
The Center for Biological Diversity sued the EPA to get those emails.
“People assume that if product is on store shelves, that somewhere someone has made sure that this is safe,” Donley says. “And right now, that doesn't appear to be the case.”
Keri McGrath, a spokesperson for Elanco, says “it is critically important to understand that reports do not indicate cause" and added that “more than 93% of incident reports (are) 'minor' or 'moderate.'"
In corporate filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Elanco insists its analysis found the number of pets that died due to its collars wasn’t 2,500 but 12.
Rhonda Bomwell doesn’t buy that and says something should be done.
“Maybe they need to reformulate it or do something or just pull the whole product off the market… so you know, we don't lose all these dogs,” she says.
The EPA says it has begun investigating whether Seresto Flea Collars should be removed from the market.