Consumer News

CATrends: Flea and Tick Products Marketed as Safe

Lawsuits allege products contain ingredients that are harmful to pets.

Consumer News

CATrends: Flea and Tick Products Marketed as Safe

Pet parents, take note: A number of flea and tick products marketed as safe have allegedly been found to contain pesticides and other harmful ingredients that pose health risks to pets.

You may have heard about Seresto, which recently agreed to a $15 million settlement to resolve a slew of class-action lawsuits alleging the company falsely represented that its collars protect pets from fleas and ticks while failing to disclose that the products contain harmful pesticides.

But over the years consumers have also sued the marketers of Bravecto, Wondercide and Sentry Natural Defense for allegedly claiming their flea and tick products are safe for pets when they contain ingredients linked to a number of side effects ranging from skin irritation and vomiting to brain damage and even death.

While two class actions against Sentry and one against Wondercide have concluded (with at least the Wondercide complaint resulting in a settlement), the Bravecto lawsuit remains pending. In an amended complaint filed in July 2021, plaintiffs in the Bravecto case alleged:

Every consumer who purchased Bravecto without being informed of the facts about its health and safety risks prior to purchase was injured at the point of sale when, instead of obtaining a safe flea and tick medication … they selected Defendant’s unreasonably dangerous and defective product instead.

The numerous lawsuits against Seresto echoed this consumer sentiment. For example, one of the complaints alleged:

Despite Defendants’ claims, Seresto Collars have resulted in millions of dollars in damages for pet owners – both in the form of collars that they overpaid for or would have never purchased had consumers known of Seresto’s dangers, and also in veterinary and other medical expenses incurred by pet owners with pets injured by the Seresto Collars and its pesticides.

While the Seresto settlement does not compel the company to make any changes to the marketing of its collars, Seresto reached an agreement with the EPA in 2023 that required it to include certain warnings on collar labels, including descriptions of common adverse effects, within 12 months.

The EPA said it received 1,400 death reports from 2016 to 2020 for Seresto collars but that in many of the incidents, critical details were often missing, preventing the agency from determining the cause of the death.

Under the class-action settlement, consumers who file and submit a valid claim form before the July 23 deadline are eligible for certain monetary reimbursement for collars purchased, as well as expenses related to pet injuries and deaths.

Find more of our coverage on pets here.

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