Should I use a Seresto collar on my pet?
In the last week we have received many calls and emails from concerned clients in response to the USA Today article regarding the risks of Seresto collars. We would like to share our opinion and experience regarding the use of this product.
First of all, we feel the referenced article was poorly researched and written in a way to elicit a dramatic response. While the raw data of reports to the FDA regarding reactions and even deaths attributed to the Seresto collars is indeed concerning, further inspection shows that there were no qualified veterinary toxicologists, pathologists or parasitologists consulted for this article. It also must be understood that the data presented is from self reported reactions, with no evidence that the reactions were researched or corroborated by scientific investigation, such as a necropsy to determine cause of death or a toxicology analysis. There is a scientific term “correlation does not equal causation”, meaning that without further study, one event cannot be directly linked as a cause of another event just because they occur close together in time.
Millions of Seresto collars have been used since they first came on the market in 2012. There is no question that this collar contains strong pesticides developed to kill fleas and ticks. As with any pesticide, there are inherent risks in its use. The risk of use must be evaluated in association with the risk of the condition which it prevents. In New England ticks especially carry a number of diseases such as Lyme disease that can result in illness and even death when dogs are infected. Unfortunately, more “natural” products have been extensively researched and have shown little to no efficacy in prevention of ticks and fleas.
One aspect that is not addressed in the USA Today article is the prevalence of either “look alike” products that may contain different pesticides that are not tested or approved in the US or even counterfeit collars. The Seresto collar is made by Bayer (now Elanco) and is produced in Germany. Caution must be taken when purchasing the Seresto collar, as this is an over the counter product which is sold both online and in many stores. If the price for the collar seems “too good to be true”, then it could be one of these illegitimate copycats that does not have the same active ingredients or the same safety studies as the true Seresto collar.
In conclusion, many of our clients and staff members have used this product on their pets, and we have never had a serious reaction such as those detailed in the article reported to us. The only reactions that we have seen are some dogs exhibit mild skin irritation or hair loss at the site of the collar. We certainly will stay apprised of any new developments in this matter, and report them to you. If you are still uncertain about using the Seresto collar and would like recommendations on alternate products for flea and tick control we would be happy to direct you to some of the other available options such as oral or topical medications.