I have been seeing a lot of advertisements on blogs lately for Serestro, mostly because they have been sponsoring posts on blogs I read. I am always pretty leery of new products for cats, especially when they are made for both dogs and cats, and I wanted to hold reserve judgement for this product until it had been 'out in the wild' for some time.
Having seen yet another 'blogvertisement' for it recently, I thought it was time to look into it and see what kind of reactions it is getting. A quick trip over to Amazon.com and a click on the reviews is eye opening.
Before we get into that though, what is Seresto? Seresto is a collar you put on your cat designed to kill fleas and ticks for eight months and costs anywhere from $50-$80 (there is also a $20 rebate on it if you go to their website). It is made and distributed by Bayer, and according to their website includes two insecticides Imidacloprid (to kill fleas) and Flumethrin (to kill ticks).
Imidacloprid has many brands and formulations for a wide range of uses, from delousing or defleaing animals to protecting trees. It is currently used in Advantage - also made by Bayer. In doing this research I've come to find out that Imidacloprid is one of those most toxic insecticides when it comes to honey bees.
Flumethrin, according to Wikipedia, is used for both fleas and ticks, and is actually used to help control mites in honey bee colonies..
You are supposed to put this collar on your cat and it is supposed to safely and effectively kill fleas and ticks for eight months. This means the collar slowly releases these insecticides over an eight month period. Sounds good doesn't it?
Well back to those reviews. I went to the Bayer website and read the reviews posted there and according to the reviews there, it has a 4.2 out of 5 rating. I have always maintained I learn far more about a product from the 1 and 2 star ratings than I ever would from the raving reviews, so I asked the site to filter me the 1 star reviews. There were 152 of them, and most of them were from dog owners claiming the product did not work. Fleas and ticks abounded in these dogs. One cat owner said the collar came off after a few short days. Another cat owner said the collar did not come off when the cat got it's jaw stuck in the collar and had harmed itself trying to get it off.
However, Amazon reviews are vastly different. Granted these reviews are on the cat collars only, but most of the reviews there talk about hair loss, sores around where the collar is, lethargy, neurological issues and in a few instances death. Talk about scary! Now granted, even Frontline and Advantage have some cats and dogs who have very bad reactions to them, but one reviewer said two of her cats that were not related had issues. How many people have issues who do not report them?
If your pet EVER has bad reaction to a medication or insecticide, PLEASE report it to your vet, and ask them to report it to the FDA This is the only way we can protect our pets. A lot of people consider a mild reaction not worth reporting, but it is.So Seresto has a 4.0 out of 5 rating, with 210 five star ratings and 50 one star rating, but the 1 star ones scare me. If it were just a matter of continuing to find fleas and ticks on the pet, I would be much more open to giving this a try if I had an issue with fleas and ticks, but neurological issues and death? I would be hard pressed to say those risks were worth it.
Might these side effects be from the fact that counterfeit products have made it into the supply chain? Sure. This would not be the first time that counterfeit flea products have made it to mass market. Reading the reviews it seems that many people wrote that they purchased the collar from their vet, which makes this a bit less likely.
So.. Is Seresto worth it? I'm going to say for my cats, who are indoors and never get fleas and ticks, absolutely not. We have gotten fleas in the past and Frontline Plus works well for us when it happens. Fortunately I haven't seen a flea in several years. When I went to the clinic, the vet found it odd that I don't regularly apply it to my cats, and even did a flea check when I said no. I do not believe in using product unless there is a direct need for it. Would I consider it if I had a flea infestation and Frontline or Advantage (purchased from my vet because of those counterfeit products) weren't working? I am glad I do not have to go there. At a 20% (66 negative reviews out of 316) risk of a problem, to me, that is just not worth it. To you it might be, but now you know to keep an eye out for any lethargy or any negative symptoms.