Dear Pet Parent,
A recent USA Today article regarding the safety of Seresto collars has gone viral, prompting an influx of calls from concerned clients. We're reaching out to provide information and assurance based upon reliable science and our firsthand experiences using this product for nearly a decade.
The article claims to reveal information linking the use of the Seresto flea and tick collar with illness (specifically seizures) and death of pets. This article appears to be a sensationalized misrepresentation of the data collected by the EPA. Here’s the trouble: these data are simply collections of spontaneous reports made to the agency directly by consumers. The purpose of such reporting sites is to create a place for people to raise concerns. Public health agencies collect and monitor these spontaneous reports for trends that suggest a problem that merits investigation. If a pattern is seen that suggests there might be a safety issue, the agency can investigate to determine if there is a real concern or not. Investigations have not been done to show the reports in this article are accurate or that there are legitimate connections between the product and the events described.
To illustrate why this raw data is not reliable on its own, consider that the same issue has arisen numerous times over many years with regard to vaccines and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), managed by the CDC and the FDA. VAERS collects unsubstantiated anecdotal reports about possible harm from vaccines. Despite the overwhelming evidence for the safety of vaccination and most vaccines in common use, these reports are frequently cited by anti-vaccine activists in an attempt to “prove” that vaccines are causing tremendous harm. One doctor actually submitted a report that a vaccine caused him to turn into the Incredible Hulk, and this report would still be in the VAERS database if he had not allowed the government to delete it - his point was to show that any claim can become part of the database, no matter how outrageous or improbable.
The USA Today article conflates a different pesticide with a high level of toxicity (a crop insecticide for agricultural applications) with the well-studied chemicals that are used in the brand name Seresto collar, which have decades of safe use in dogs and cats. Peer-reviewed, published studies provide scientific data proving the safety and efficacy of these ingredients used in combination in the Seresto collar; here is a 2012 study done in Europe (with higher regulatory standards than the US) and a 2015 international study that tested the collar alone and when used concurrently with other common antiparasitic treatments.
One critical issue that this article fails to address is the prevalence of knockoff or lookalike products. Unfortunately, if a veterinary product is successful, greedy companies try to capture some of the market by producing products that appear similar but contain different ingredients, or a different proportion of ingredients. It is not unusual for counterfeit replicas of a brand-name product to be produced in foreign countries and sold online posing as the original product. These knockoffs are convincing but have not passed the regulatory testing required of properly approved products to confirm safety and efficacy. Well-meaning consumers that have inadvertently purchased these products online or in retail stores may observe adverse effects in their pet and submit a report vilifying the brand-name product, even though that is not what caused the side effects.
Know that we have full confidence in the Seresto collars sold in our hospital, as we purchase directly from the manufacturer and can guarantee the legitimacy of our stock. Our doctors and staff have been using this product consistently on their own pets since Seresto first entered the market in 2012 and will continue to do so for convenient, safe and effective flea and tick control that we trust. We have seen a small percentage of dogs and cats with localized reactions (skin irritation/hair loss around the area of the collar), in which cases we have immediately addressed any issues and developed a new prevention program using an approved alternative product.
We have always recommended that clients choose a preventative program that best fits their pet, lifestyle and comfort level. Your pet's safety and health remains our priority and if any legitimate concern were to arise involving any products or medications provided to your pet, we would reach out to you immediately with information and a recommended course of action.
Thank you for your continued trust in our care,
Your pet's health team at Pets in Harmony Veterinary Hospital