Originally based out of Leverkusen, Germany, the pesticide, GMO crop, and drug producing company Bayer has long been known for several different controversies, including the safety of its products.
In 2020, Bayer completed the sale of its Animal Health business unit to Elanco Animal Health Incorporated for the princely sum of $5.17 billion in cash, along with 72.9 million shares of its common stock, equating to 15.5% of its outstanding stock.
Bayer is no longer in the animal health business, but the company still has its fingerprints on a number of products, including the number one best-selling flea and tick collar, Seresto.
Unfortunately for many pet owners who bought these controversial collars, they are said to be responsible for the deaths of nearly 2,000 pets, along with injuries to 75,000 more.
Seresto Flea/Ticker Collars Scrutinized Over EPA Link to Pet Deaths
On July 12 of last year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based in Washington, D.C. sent out a press release breaking the news that Seresto dog and cat collars had been linked to the deaths of nearly 1,700 pets.
According to the Agency, a legal petition was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to cancel the registration of the flea and tick collar implemented in these cases of harm.
The EPA opened a 60-day public commenting period, during which it revealed the extent of the damage.
“The EPA has received more than 75,000 complaints linking the flea collar to harms in pets that have ranged from skin irritation to death,” the press release said.
“At least 700 of the complaints received by the agency include harm to humans.”
According to USA Today, the FDA did not issue a warning, either, leaving pet owners to find out for themselves.
The alleged link and pet deaths were uncovered via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The EPA’s website has not shown any update on the alleged pet collar poisonings as of yet, but dog and cat owners are still buying the collars in great numbers.
Hannah Connor, an attorney at the Center, called the EPA’s decision to investigate these pet deaths “great news.”
“It’s great news that the EPA is finally investigating whether this flea collar has likely caused the suffering and deaths of thousands of beloved pets,” Connor said.
“Pet owners need to take advantage of this important opportunity and encourage the agency to suspend use of Seresto flea collars while it thoroughly reviews their safety.”
Elanco’s response to the USA Today article can be read here.
Should You Let Your Dog or Cat Wear Seresto Flea Collars?
Even with the controversy, the collars remain on the market, and are still a best selling item on Amazon.com.
While the collars have an overwhelming 89% positive reviews on Amazon, some purchasers have shared stories of harm to their pets in the reviews section, including one user named Charles Fernandez.
Another reviewer named TravelingMan had the following to say.
“Our Australian Shepard developed severe itching and became very irritable after installing this Bayer Flea and tick collar. She started running into walls in our home and became very delirious.
“Contacted Bayer on their emergency telephone number on a Sunday afternoon and they were very helpful. Had to bath Zoey three times with Dawn detergent and remove the other collar off of Gabby, who had no reaction, but had the oil from the Bayer collar.
“Poor Gabby also had to be bathed three times with Dawn detergent. After three more days Zoey fully recovered. Be very careful with this collar. It put us through pure hell.”