Popular flea collar reportedly linked to 1,700 pet deaths

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A popular flea and tick collar is reportedly making thousands of pets sick and even killing some of them — and critics are blaming the Environmental Protection Agency for turning a blind eye to the problem.

The EPA, which is responsible for regulating products that contain pesticides, has received 75,000 incident reports about Seresto pet collars, developed by Bayer and manufactured by Elenco, since they were introduced in 2012, according to public records.

Those include 1,698 pet deaths and nearly 1,000 incidents involving harm to humans, according to an explosive report published on Tuesday by The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and USA Today.

“After seven years of an increasing number of incidents, they are telling the public that they are continuing to monitor the situation,” Karen McCormack, a former EPA official, said of the agency, according to the report. “But I think this is a significant problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.”

Seresto, McCormack added, “has the most incidents of any pesticide pet product” she’s ever seen.

German-based Bayer and Elanco, a Louisville, Ky.-based company, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The EPA also did not immediately respond for comment. 

“No pesticide is completely without harm,” an EPA spokesperson said, according to the report, confirming that the agency has found the Seresto collars are “eligible for continued registration.”

“EPA ensures that there are measures on the product label that reduce risk,” the spokesperson added. “Some pets, however, like some humans, are more sensitive than others and may experience adverse symptoms after treatment.”

On Amazon, the Seresto has been the top-selling collar.
On Amazon, the Seresto has been the top-selling collar.

Rhonda Bomwell, of Somerset, NJ, said she lost her nine-year-old Papillon service dog, Pierre, after putting a Seresto collar on him in June, according to the report. A day later, Pierre had a seizure. She rushed him to the hospital but he died before he could get treatment. Bomwell didn’t think to take off Pierre’s collar at the time, the report said.

“I just didn’t put it together,” Bomwell said.

On Amazon, the Seresto has been the top-selling collar. Nevertheless, there have been many disturbing reviews about the collar, which is worn for for six to eight months and slowly releases the chemicals onto the animal.

“10 days after placing the Seresto collar on my dog, she suffered a neurological problem diagnosed as meningitis of ‘unknown origin,’” one customer wrote. “She temporarily lost the use of her hind legs and vet bills have already exceeded $5,000.”

Another reviewer said, “Put this collar on my 10 pound Maltese and 14 pound Shih Tzu in May 2016. Within 3 days the Shih Tzu was laying in his bed all day whining and every time I picked him up he would cry out, as if he was in pain…. take the collar off, bathe him AND by the next morning he is back to normal!!!! Called my Vet and Bayer and was told he must be allergic to an ingredient in the collar.”

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