A common flea collar for pets has been linked to thousands of deaths, a new report reveals.
The Seresto device is designed to protect both dogs and cats from fleas and ticks, by releasing pesticide onto the animal for months at a time.
However, the product is now being tied to almost 1700 animal deaths in the US, according to recently exposed Environmental Protection Agency documents. The findings also reveal tens of thousands of Seresto-related incidents of animal injuries and human illnesses. Despite the overwhelming number of complaints, the EPA has never released a warning about the products.
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The anti-parasitic collar, which has been on the market since 2012, claims to provide its wearer with eight months of protection against pests. By offering a long-term solution to this common issue, it aims to eliminate regular flea treatments.
The EPA report revealed a long list of disturbing cases, one of which involving a New Jersey dog owner named Rhonda Bowmell. After just one day of wearing the Seresto collar, her Papillon service dog suffered a seizure and was pronounced dead at the veterinary hospital.
In response to the criticism, the EPA released the following statement: "Under the Biden-Harris Administration EPA has returned to its core mission, which includes protecting our pets' health. We take every incident reported seriously and review these data to see whether action is necessary."
However, it did not acknowledge its failure to issue a warning about the Seresto collar.
"EPA encourages pet owners to read the entire label before using the pesticide product and follow all directions carefully, including monitoring your pet after application to see if side effects occur. If side effects develop, the label tells the consumer to consult the pet's veterinarian immediately."
Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that developed Seresto before selling it to Elanco Animal Health, has denied the accusations that their flea collar has fatal side-effects.
"Elanco takes the safety and efficacy of all our products – including Seresto - very seriously, and thoroughly investigates potential concerns related to their use," a Bayer spokesperson said. "There is no established link between death and exposure to the active ingredients contained in Seresto. 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."
The company added that the collar was deemed safe for pets by 'more than 80 regulatory authorities around the world' during its product development stage and that the 'safety and efficacy of Seresto are continuously monitored' by both internal and external regulatory bodies.
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Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.
Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.
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