Seresto flea collar to be removed after 2,500 pet deaths, lawmakers say

The popular Seresto flea and tick collar is due to be recalled after research shows the roughly $70 device poses risks to pets and their owners, according to a new Congressional report. The findings link the collar to nearly 100,000 incidents and 2,500 pet deaths.

Nearly 34 million collars were sold to American pet owners, who were lured by the product’s promise to ward off ticks and fleas for up to eight months, compared to other treatments that must be applied monthly. But the collar, made by Elanco Animal Health, is linked to more reports of deaths and injuries than competing products, says the report by the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s subcommittee on economic and consumer policy.

The report could lead some pet owners to question whether they want to buy or continue using the product, part of the $232 billion animal care industry. During the pandemic, more Americans have adopted pets, while spending on pet-related items has increased during the health crisis, according to Grand View Research.

The subcommittee’s report highlighted the number of reports of injury or death that owners linked to the collar, as well as Canada’s decision to bar sales of the Seresto collar because its review of U.S. incidents and toxicology studies found it “posed a very great for pets and their owners to be sold in Canada.”

During a hearing before the committee on Wednesday, Elanco Animal Health CEO Jeffrey Simmons said the collar is safe and has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, undergoing more than 80 safety, toxicity and efficacy studies.

“Reports of adverse events are not proof of causality,” Simmons said at the hearing. “We didn’t find a single death due to the ingredients in the necklace.”

In 2021, there were just over 17 incident reports for every 10,000 collars sold, with the majority of those issues involving irritation or redness, according to Elanco. In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, the company said an analysis of all these reports between 2013 and 2021 shows “no established link between Seresto’s active ingredients and the death of pets.”

Elanco added: “Given the robust scientific evidence of Seresto’s strong safety profile, we are proud to support the product as an important tool to protect pets from fleas and ticks and the harmful diseases they carry.”

Symptoms: Skin lesions, lethargy

The report cited findings from the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), which Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat and committee chair, said is similar to the EPA in the US.

PMRA’s analysis of symptoms experienced by hundreds of pets included skin lesions and irritated skin, which sometimes covered large areas of an animal’s body and did not resolve after the collar was removed, according to the report. Other symptoms include lethargy, abnormal behavior, excessive grooming and vocalization, vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia, according to the panel.

“These worrisome symptoms appeared soon after starting the Seresto necklace, particularly in the first month,” according to the report. “Many pet owners responded by removing their pet’s collars earlier,” he said.

A pet owner, Thoomas Mairino, of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, told the hearing that the family’s dog was suffering from increasingly severe symptoms, including stomach bleeding and a seizure, after they began wearing a Seresto collar on recommendation. from your veterinarian. Although they consulted with several other vets, his condition worsened and the family eventually decided that the dog would be euthanized.

“The last 18 months of his life were agonizing to watch,” he told lawmakers. “If I could help prevent another family from going through what my family went through, I wanted to take action.

Some pet owners also experienced side effects, the panel report added. This includes skin and immune disorders, as well as respiratory, neurological and digestive impacts such as throat irritation, dizziness and nausea, he said.

The report included several recommendations, including a voluntary recall of the collars by Elanco. It also suggested that the EPA overhaul its pesticide product review process.

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