Saturday, September 20, 2014

What I know - Seresto for fleas and ticks, is it worth it?




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.

22 comments:

  1. My human is really wary about putting insecticides on us kitties! I don't think she would allow this product in our home.

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  2. Mom has a friend who wanted to get a flea collar for her woofie. This is really scary. Mom wouldn't out this on me ever!

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  3. I used to use flea and tick products on Alice. . . until I tried a different (new) brand and she had a very scary reaction to it. She goes out sometimes but now I use a flea comb as often as possible and vacuum the carpets more often. It's just not worth the risk. I'd rather she had a flea or two than neurological damage.

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  4. For indoor cats, I believe that the risk to their health from any flea protection product is greater than the risk of fleas.

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  5. I am careful about that sort of thing for Speedy to as a lot of the stuff for rabbits can cause reaction the only one that is recommend by the house Rabbit society is Advantage but for Mites I use Mite Powder that you use for birds,but I only use Advantage when we take him on holiday as we stay in pet friendly accommodation,xx Rachel

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  6. Annabelle has flea allergy if one bites it is awful. I hate having to give her the monthly treatments but in her case the advantages outweigh the negatives. But in the 10 years I've had indoor cats, I've only had to use flea treatments a handful of times. I wish I didn't have to give it to Annabelle.

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  7. I'm not a fan of flea collars. Several years ago (the article isn't online anymore) a vet wrote an excellent review of various flea control methods and said the only useful part of a flea collar was if it had reflective tape on it....so outdoor cats could be seen at night. All my cats have been indoors but we get the occasional flea hitchhicker getting in the house. We've always used Advantage for cats. Tried and true, and they've never reacted negatively to it. Remember to NEVER use flea products for dogs on your cats.

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  8. We're indoor only kitties but Mom Paula has brought them in on her pants and shoes, so we use Revolution. We're too afraid of those collars.

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  9. That's kind of scary. I've only had one cat with fleas and I used Advantage on her (she was my only cat at the time) and never saw a flea again. Thankfully, fleas do not thrive in Colorado, so I've never had to worry about flea control since I've been here. I don't think that a product that causes neurological issues or death should be on the market, and I hope the FDA is looking into these cases.

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  10. That all sounds WAY too scary, for me.

    Purrs,
    Nissy

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  11. Thank you for doing this research! Your review is very helpful.

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  12. Interesting results you've found. I've always been leery of flea collars. Any time I saw a pet wearing one, I would tell people that they only protected their pet maybe a couple of inches above and below the collar from fleas. Not their whole body. Plus the chemicals. But cheap OTC flea meds are usually pretty bad anyways. While I do like Advantage products personally, I can understand that some pets have a bad reaction to those chemicals and many owners don't feel safe using them. I'm sure my dog would be fine with one, but mostly I am wondering if it would actually work for her since a lot of things haven't been working this summer.

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  13. So scary. I'm with you - definitely not worth the risk. With indoor cats, I don't regularly apply flea prevention either. Last summer we had a terrible bout of fleas for some reason, and it went the all-natural route - diatomaceous earth, homemade sprays with apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, water, etc... I did use a few Capstar pills as well, but I won the war! I am extremely leery of chemical products, especially with my Sophie who already has neurological problems (CH).

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    1. capstar is a pill that kills fleas within a very short amount of time, but it only lasts a short time, like a day or so. Good for a shelter environment when an animal comes in infested.

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  14. I haven't used flea/tick collars in at least 25 years. When my first two cats broke out on their necks with rashes and lost fur, I knew they weren't for us. I do use Advantage and put it on the kitties once or twice in the spring and summer. Three kitties go outside and the others to the Catio, but I have not had a problem with fleas or ticks in probably ten years. I think by using the Advantage for so many years, that we eradicated them in our yard. My vet wants us to change to Revolution as it works for heart worm as well, but I haven't done it yet. Thanks for your candid review. Hugs, Janet

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  15. Thanks for sharing so much detail

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  16. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I am not a huge proponent of flea collars but this year I had the bad luck to be fighting a flea infestation. My cats are strictly indoors however my puppy goes to play at friends' houses and picked up fleas from another dog. The fleas came home and saw the cats as a welcome source of food. Before I realized it, I was being bitten and all 3 animals were scratching until they lost fur. I purchased the Seresto collars for them on the recommendation of my groomer. I have read hundreds of reviews, both positive and negative and then made my choice. Much like humans, some pets will just have reactions to medications. It is unfortunate when the reactions are severe but the collars are there to help return our pets to happy, flea free animals.

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  17. I've been using the Seresto collar for my cat for several years. Have never had any issues and has worked great. Just purchased 2 for 2 new cats. I have found that different products have worked best for different pets, so we'll see. I hope they work as well for these 2 because it is much easier to change every 8 months!

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    1. I am glad it is working for you and your cats are safe. But this does not remedy the fact that there are pets out there who are having problems. Since most manufacturers will not share these side effects with you, I thought it important to create a post on this topic and share this information so people can make a fully informed decision.

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  18. Capstar is safe enough to use daily.

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  19. I have used seresto on my dog who has sensitive skin and allergic to fleas for 2 years now. He and other dogs have no sign of fleas or ticks.
    As for my cats this is 1st yr I tried on them. My male and female are littermate siblings. She tolerates it very well. However after having the collar on for approx a month I notice my male Cate is vomiting and dropping weight (used to be 18lbs) I take to one vet and blood work is ran and nothing comes back and he's deemed healthy, just got a hold of something that didn't agree. Few weeks later still not knowing what cause is, I do not see any change other than the vomiting has stopped but still looks sickly. Took him to another vet and he ran xrays. He was diagnosed with asthma and has lost approx 10 lbs. Vet unclear of cause but gives a steroid shot to help his breathing.
    After process of elimination I realized the collar is only thing different during this time. I have since removed the collar and he is slowly gaining weight, feeling and breathing better.
    I am not 100% sure it's was the collar but my conclusion is there something in the collar that did not agree with him. I will continue to use on other pets but for my Zack he will not.
    Thanks for reading.
    Beth

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