Investigation links pet sickness, death to flea and tick collar with Shawnee connection

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SHAWNEE, Kan. — Could the flea and tick collar you put on your pet be hurting them? The results of a new investigation are concerning for pet owners.

Whether its man’s best friends or a furry feline, pets are a part of the family, and many owners love them like their own children. When you put a flea and tick collar on them, you expect it to be safe for them to wear.

But an investigation that published this morning by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting along with USA Today discovered a troubling trend.

After looking over thousands of federal documents from the EPA, investigators learned there have been more than 75,000 complaints about the Seresto-brand flea and tick collar over the past nine years. They discovered close to 1,700 dogs and cats wearing this collar died.

Elanco Animal Health recently bought Bayer Animal Health, which for years did research in Shawnee on animal products like the flea and tick collar in question.

Bayer created this collar with the brand name Seresto, and Elanco now sells it. It uses two types of pesticides to kill fleas and ticks, releasing small amounts of chemicals onto your pet over time. Investigators found evidence this collar might be killing dogs and cats, too.

“There is no established link between death and exposure to the active ingredients contained in Seresto,” A spokesperson for Elanco wrote in a statement. “We take the safety of our products very seriously, and thoroughly investigate potential concerns related to their use.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency regulates all products with pesticides and responded by saying they believe it is still safe enough. They noted that some warnings exist on the product’s packaging. Despite the complaints, the product will stay on the market.

An EPA spokesperson said they believe some pets just might be more sensitive to this particular pesticide combination than others.

The EPA has never warned the public about this Seresto product, and there is no evidence to think the agency will anytime soon.

Here is Elanco’s full statement:

There is no established link between death and exposure to the active ingredients contained in Seresto.

We take the safety of our products very seriously, and thoroughly investigate potential concerns related to their use. And, it is critically important for people to understand that a report is not an indication of cause. What those numbers represent is the number of reports received, and do not reflect causality. So, if a dog were to be wearing a collar and experience any sort of adverse event, the collar would be mentioned in the report. Drawing a causal link from individual incident reports is misleading.

And, reporting rates have actually been decreasing over the life of the product.

That said, we continuously monitor the safety of our products on an on-going basis. A few important facts:

– Since its initial approval in 2012, Seresto has protected more than 25 million US pets from fleas and ticks.
– The 2020 incident report rate for all adverse events related to Seresto is a fraction of 1% of users defined by the WHO (World Health Organization) as “uncommon”.
– The significant majority of these incidents relate to non-serious effects such as application site disorders – reddening of the skin or hair loss below the collar.
– It is important for consumers to make sure they’re purchasing collars from an authorized retailer. Regrettably, there are counterfeits out there.

Again, we take adverse events – and the health and well-being of pets – very seriously. All adverse events related to Seresto use, product related or not, are collected, evaluated, and reported to authorities.

Elanco Animal Health

Not only are pets having problems with the Seresto flea and tick collar. Humans might be too. More than 1,000 people have reported health problems from it, mostly rashes.

Almost all flea and tick collars contain pesticide, so if your dog or cat are having health problems, that could be the cause. You should consult your vet before using chemicals in tandem with your pets.

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