DON’T use Seresto cat and dog flea and tick collars

NEWS AND COMMENT: The news that Seresto cat and dog collars are toxic to cats and dogs is all over the Internet. If you have one, I’d throw it in the bin immediately. The information is that they are so toxic to cats and dogs that they can kill them. Although the statistics provided online are described as “just the tip of the iceberg” by Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Centre for Biological Diversity and an expert on US pesticide regulation, there have been 1,698 fatalities caused by this collar. And there have been over 40,000 moderate, minor and unknown degrees of injury caused by this product. There’s even been a reported 907 health incidents regarding people in handling the product. Stear clear of the stuff, please.

Bomwell and photo of Pierre allegedly killed by a Seresto collar
Rhonda Bomwell, of Somerset, N.J., holds a necklace with her dog’s ashes and a photograph of her 9-year-old Papillon, Pierre, who died June 1, 2020 a day after wearing a Seresto flea collar. Image: TANYA BREEN.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The numbers are staggering and it is reported that the Environmental Protection Agency in the US has been turning a blind eye to hard evidence that this product is unsuited for use and that it should be immediately withdrawn from the marketplace.

Seresto flea and tick collars were introduced in 2012. The EPA received reports about deaths and by June 2020 they had received more than 75,000 incident reports relating to these collars including almost 1,000 incidents of human harm. And so, the agency had known about the toxicity of this product for years and did nothing about it.

Seresto dog and cat flea collar is toxic to cats and dogs
Seresto dog and cat flea collar is toxic to cats and dogs. Image: Screenshot USA Today.

There are now calls by lawyers to remove the product from the market following a 16-month investigation. One online news media outlets states that there have been 2,500 deaths and 100,000 incidents. As Nathan Donley stated, the reported figures are the tip of the iceberg. There are almost certainly many more unreported incidents.

Seresto cat flea collar is toxic to cats and dogs
Seresto cat flea collar is toxic to cats and dogs. Image: Amazon

A 16-month investigation concluded that the EPA approved the collar after a flawed scientific review process which underestimated the effect on cats and dogs by the pesticide imidacloprid, one of two pesticides in this collar. The other is flumethrin. Imidacloprid belongs to the neonicotinoid class of insecticides. It is, actually, linked to catastrophic damage to the bee population which dramatically impacts pollination being very toxic to bees. It puts them to sleep and alters their behaviour.

Flumethrin according to EPA documents is an active ingredient in only one product, Seresto’s collars.

Seresto collars are made by Elanco Animal Health. They bought Seresto from the German agribusiness and pharmaceutical company Bayer.

Pet collars are big business. Elanco have lobbied the EPA regularly and spent $1.6 million in doing this. A spokeswoman for Elanco, Keri McGrath said that Elanco “takes the safety of our products very seriously and thoroughly investigate potential concerns relating to the use”. She said that the product had been approved in more than 80 countries. She also said that the EPA is in the final stages of re-approving both pesticides. Regrettably I don’t have a date for that statement.

Seresto is the top selling cat and dog collar on Amazon. They have received numerous complaints about the product and customers have detailed significant concerns. A large number of people have claimed that the collar causes skin rashes or neurological issues in their pet. Amazon continues to sell the product. They’ve not responded to a request for comment by USA Today.

A senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council said that this isn’t the first time that the EPA has failed to properly regulate flea and tick collars which invariably contain pesticides. All pesticides are dangerous but the two mentioned when combined appear to be fatal far too often.

Here are some examples. They have been tragic moments for both pet and owner. Rhonda Bomwell had never put a tick and flea collar on her 9-year-old Papillon service dog, Pierre, before as he was mostly an indoor animal. A veterinarian recommended she purchase a flea collar and she selected Bayer’s Seresto collar. Within 24 hours on June 2, 2020, Pierre had a seizure. He collapsed in front of her, lying on his back, his eyes rolled back and he stopped breathing. She tried CPR and she called the police.

The officer lifted her dog into her car and they rushed to the hospital where he died before he could receive medical treatment. Bomwell didn’t think it was the collar. She had no idea at that time. And the Seresto collar is one of the most popular in the USA. Approximately 34 million have been sold in the US alone. They are popular because they last up to 8 months whereas mostly collars have to be replaced monthly.

Apparently, they were deemed to be too dangerous by Canadian authorities. Also, apparently some EPA officials raised concerns about the collar but the agency allowed them to remain for sale.

It is something that people tend to forget namely that all flea treatments are insecticides and insecticides are very dangerous and toxic chemicals. It’s a balancing act between causing harm and having a beneficial effect. Even the spot-on treatments contain warnings on the packaging that pet owners should wash their hands after they’ve used the product. This is ironic because they’ve just deposited the product in quite a large amount on their pet’s skin where it remains. I find that contradiction bizarre.

This product severely and negatively affects some dogs and cats but not others and is highly successful as a flea and tick killer

The oddity about this product is that on Amazon it receives 4.5 out of 5 in reviews which is good. And there appears to be no signs of toxicity or poisoning on Amazon. Perhaps that is why they refuse to remove it from their listings.

And a study published in 2012 which evaluated the efficacy and safety of imidacloprid 10% and flumethrin 4.5% in Seresto collars found that it was very effective at around 98.3% in cats and 96.7% in dogs. And the researchers also state that “both treatments proved to be safe in dogs and cats with mainly minor local observations at the application site”. That last observation may be important as it does indicate health issues.

However, I don’t know what is going on. There is very strong evidence that Seresto collars kill pets and is frankly dangerous but this study contradicts that finding as does the Amazon reviews. The complaints reported to the EPA must, I believe, outweigh everything else. I’m not sure that I can believe this study. I do believe the stories of dog and cat owners. They know best in my view.

Below are more articles on ‘toxic to cats’.

4 thoughts on “DON’T use Seresto cat and dog flea and tick collars”

  1. I have been using Seresto flea collars for many years with no noticeable side effects. They were recommended by my vet around 2012-13. They used to control the fleas very well. Even though I only use them on my dogs, the cats didn’t seem to have fleas either. Lately, they haven’t seemed to work very well. We had a flea problem for a short while. Seems that their quality and effectiveness has waned dramatically. Wonder if it is in relation to they buy out? Either way, I need to search for an alternative method for controlling fleas. Thank you for sharing!

    • Interesting. The reports of harm seem to be genuine and numerous. It seems that it affects some cats negatively but not others or perhaps there has been a change to the insecticide used in this collar.

  2. I heard about this a few years ago and was glad I was to poor to buy the collars for my pets. Sad so many still don’t know.


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