Do You Use Seresto?

As a teenager on the farm, I was milking cows one day when I noticed some kittens that were in the barn had fleas. If you have ever seen fleas on kittens, you want to get them off immediately because it is obvious that they are hurting the kitten. Young and naïve, I had some Cutter Insect Spray for Humans that killed fleas. I rationalized that insect spray for humans would be much more sensitive than insect spray for animals. I was wrong. The spray that I put on the kittens killed all of them, and it was an agonizing death. The kittens were running around crying and turning in circles, and their mom was inconsolable, obviously knowing I had hurt her kittens. It was a horrendous lesson, and I have been suspicious of tick and flea medications ever since.

Some of us here in the United States think that if a product is approved for use in cats and dogs, that means it is safe. However, having spent my career in human pharmaceuticals, I know full well that ALL products do not have an evolved side effect profile when they reach the market. Most products are used on the minimal amount of subjects possible, usually animals that are adult, otherwise healthy and without any mitigating circumstances. In the Congressional report on Seresto, it is said: “the the testing numbers were small, greatly underestimated exposure, and tested on “hardy breeds” not kittens or small breed dogs”.

With medications, doctors are required to send in paperwork of adverse events that happen with the medications. But with over the counter products for pets, who sends in an adverse report? These products are deadly, make no mistake about it (the products are MADE to kill fleas and ticks after all) and should be monitored. But are they? When I killed those 4 kittens with Cutter Insect spray, I never even fathomed to turn it into Cutter as an adverse event. Is there ANY responsibility by corporations that make these products to make sure they are safe and actually protect our pets?

Seresto is made by Elanco, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly, (the producers of Prozac and Cialis to name a few) and many other human medications. They KNOW how to do research, and would not be allowed to have a human product on the market that was linked to 2500 deaths.
Yet Seresto flea collars have been linked with more than 2500 deaths and 100,000 incidents REPORTED with pets here in the United States. Here is the congressional report:

Seresto has already been banned in Canada. Seresto is supposed to work for 8 months, where most products have to be used monthly. Seresto has also been reported to have serious side effects in humans that have come in contact with it. One pet owner, Thomas Mairino of New Jersey, reported his family dog suffered increasingly severe symptoms, including bleeding patches on her stomach and seizures after using Seresto. The dogs condition worsened, and it took 19 months of suffering before she died.

Just like when I used the Cutter Insect spray, it was a long agonizing death. Some pet owners also reportedly experienced side effects, the panel’s report added. These included skin and immune disorders, as well as respiratory, neurological and digestive impacts such as throat irritation, dizziness and nausea.

Let’s be real. I have clients whose dogs have had seizures, and my dog Gracie had seizures. While they don’t know everything that causes seizures, it is pretty sure that pesticides like the ones on the Seresto collar are one of the causes. When I think of how EASY it is to put on flea and tick medication each month, in my mind this is a no-brainer- I would much rather use a shorter release product than expose my dog to seizures and other side effects that have been experienced by dogs who have had this product used on them. If you have EVER spent a frightful night at the emergency vet wondering if your dog is going to live through the seizures, they are having (if you haven’t I hope you never do) you would make the same choice.

Meanwhile, Elanco CEO Jeffrey Simmons testified to a congress subcommittee saying: “Adverse event reports aren’t proof of causation, we haven’t found a single death due to the ingredients in the collar.”

The EPA looked at 251 deaths attributed to Seresto and concluded that the collar was probably the cause of 45% of those deaths. The Canadian EPA PRMA looked at the same 251 deaths and found probably at least 33% of the deaths were because of Seresto. If this was a human medication, they would HAVE TO ASSURE that this product is safe before it is used again. Do they think it’s okay cause it is “pets”? To me, pets are family too and their quality of care should not be compromised because an Animal Health company is too lazy to make sure their product is safe.

The question from Congress is: “Why a product linked to more than 2,500 pet deaths still on the market in the congressional article, they state that Elanco has been asked by the EPA multiple times to make the collar safer and have refused to do so. In other words, they KNOW they are “probably” killing pets (the first adverse responses bad enough to go to EPA were in 2015) and they aren’t doing anything about it.

There are OTHER, SAFER products out there. Here in Arizona, we don’t need to use flea and tick products all year. I only use them when the monsoons come, and at the lowest possible dose. After reading what Mr. Simmons said about his product, I don’t think they have the best interests of your pet family member at heart. That’s not a company I want to support. My question to you and other pet parents is simple too: “Why on EARTH would you buy Saresto when there is even a whisper that it could cause the death of your pet?.”

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