Flea & Tick prevention: talk with your veterinarian

                      A fellow grooming salon owner sent me an article, Hettinger, J. (2021 March 2). Popular flea collar linked to almost 1,700 pet deaths. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has issued no warning. USA Today & Investigate Midwest. Nearly 1,700 pet deaths is alarming and concerns me because I have recommended and used this flea collar (Seresto) on my own dog.

Although said article does report on new findings disclosed by the EPA; it incites fear mongering from it’s readers that I do not agree with. It is further exacerbated by the PR embargo placed on this EPA summary that prohibits anyone from republishing and interpreting the data until March 12th.

I will do my best to describe the issue at hand without referring to this summary. However, I always encourage anyone to read the original article and view the EPA summary for yourself so you can interpret the data and draw your own conclusions.

Lets start with the basics. Pesticides are chemical substances used to kill pests. The pests the Seresto collar aims to kill are: fleas, ticks, and lice; while also preventing future infestations. Using the Seresto flea collar is very convenient because it offers fast acting and continuous protection for eight months.

It is important to remember that pesticides are chemcials that should only be used as directed. In fact,  the EPA states, 

'It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.'


Since its launch in 2012 Seresto has had made several revisions to their labeling. The latest revision was in April 2014. This revision can be found on the EPA’s website. Some important product information to know:

  • 8-month prevention and treatment of ticks, fleas, and lice for dogs 7 weeks or older or cats 10 weeks or older
  • Active Ingredients are: Flumethrin (4.25%) & Imidacloprid (10%)
  • Pet parents with sensitivities to the active ingredients should avoid contact
  • The collar should be free of plastic connectors and to fit the collar properly by using the two fingers of space method.
  • slight hair loss and mild skin reactions may occur due to mechanical irritation and typically recovers within one to two weeks
  • in rare cases a dermatitis site reaction, inflammation, eczema, and /or legions occur
  • if these reactions occur collar removal is recommended
  • consult your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY
  • Always consult your veterinarian before administering the Seresto collar on dogs/cats that are:
    • debilitated 
    • aged
    • breeding/pregnant/ or nursing
  • Consulting your veterinarian for the appropriate flea/tick prevention is ALWAYS recommended
  • Also always disclose what medications your dog/cat takes

After the original article received lots of press the author published another article. Hettinger, J. (2021 March 5). Amazon is reviewing best-selling Seresto flea collar after reports of illnesses, deaths. USA Today.

 This article clarifies some of the claims from the original article by interviewing sources from: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, a retired EPA staffer, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. In fact the spokesperson from AVMA states,

"The risk associated with the use of medical products is never zero, so we need to weigh the risk with the reward"

AVMA spokesperson

In conclusion, I believe that the Seresto collar has many convenient benefits that allow your pet to be well protected against fleas, ticks, and lice. Please be aware that Seresto contains the pesticides: imidacloprid and flumethrin and may not be ideal for you and your pet’s lifestyle. But we all need to work together to combat the spread of diseases in our community via our pets.

TLDR: Consult your veterinarian before using any medical products on your dog to mitigate severe reactions.