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Pet owners concerned after claims of 1,700 pet deaths linked to popular flea collar

The Bayer company is under scrutiny after an article came out blaming the company for almost 2,000 related animal deaths.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — USA Today recently released an article claiming over 1,700 pet deaths were linked to the popular Seresto Bayer flea collar. Already in West Texas, veterinarians like Dr. Karen Frembgen, owner and vet at Knickerbocker Road Animal Hospital, have been getting calls from worried pet owners. Dr. Frembgen said these accusations are new and could be false, but in the meanwhile, she recommends patients stay away from that particular product until more information is known. 

Since these claims are now out, Bayer will have to provide their research and prove they have a safe product. Dr. Frembgen said the Environment Protection Agency, or EPA, will also want to look into if the products were used correctly, not a fake, and not ingested.  

Dr.Frembgen said once explanation for the pet deaths is the owners unknowing bought a knock-off copycat version that is not safe or regulated. She said patients should always buy their medicine from the pharmacy or veterinary clinic because some products online or at other stores may look like the popular brand but isn’t. She also said its very important for pet owners to consult their veterinarians before giving any medicine to their pets, as weight, age, species, and medical history all matters in what prescription is best.

Fleas and the methods to kill them are always changing, so if an owner picks up an over-the-counter flea medicine that has been around for decade or two, it may not be as effective as newer methods you must get from a vet. Flea medicine works by attacking anything with an exoskeleton, which many pests have. Mammals do not have these, so humans, dogs, and cats should be safe from the harmful chemicals.

Dr. Frembgen said all side effects should be discussed, so no one should hesitate before reaching out. If your dog develops a skin rash from a flea collar, take it off and immediately wash you pet before going to the vet. Severe symptoms are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. 

While 99% of pets recover from seizures, Dr. Frembgen said they can sometimes be fatal. If your dog is suffering from a seizure, try to keep them safe by not letting them fall off the couch, keep other animals away from them, and do not put your hands in their mouth.

If your pet has a reaction to any medication or flea medicines, make sure to consult your vet, who can help you report the reaction to the company and the EPA to make sure these incidents aren’t just occurring everywhere.