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What is Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning?

The chemicals that are put into the flea and tick collars that many dog owners use to eliminate fleas from their pets can be harmful if eaten. Serious effects on the central nervous system resulting in neurological deficits are possible.  In addition, the ingredients in the flea collars can leave a residue on your dog's hair that remains for many weeks. Studies show that poisoning by some types of chemicals can occur by ingestion of the collar or by the licking of the residue found on the hair. Dog owners who use these products should also be aware of the potential dangers to other household pets and to children.

Flea and tick collars can contain ingredients that can be highly toxic to dogs if ingested. Amitraz and propoxur are two such chemicals, added to flea and tick collars during production. Accidental ingestion of a collar by your dog can result in severe toxicity.

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Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning Average Cost

From 55 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs

Amitraz

  • Weakness
  • Loss of bodily movement control
  • High or low body temperature
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Low blood pressure
  • Obstruction of the intestines due to paralysis of intestines
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Gastric dilatation
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart rhythm and rapid heart rate
  • Excess salivation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures

Propoxur

  • Muscle twitching
  • Loss of bodily movement control
  • Weakness
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Salivation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Seizures

With a skin irritation of propoxur, there may be evidence of redness of the skin, loss of hair, and a constriction of the iris of your pet’s eye.

Types

Other than amitraz and propoxur, another chemical used in topical solutions for flea and tick control and for collars used to eradicate these pests is tetrachlorvinphos, an organophosphate also known to be toxic to your dog’s nervous system.

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Causes of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs

Flea and tick collar poisoning occurs when a pet ingests a collar or consumes the chemicals that are left on the skin and fur as a residual product. Studies have shown that chemicals that are harmful to both your family pets and children can remain (and are accessible each time the collar is touched) for a few weeks after the collar has been put on your dog. Caution should be used when putting the collar on your dog; wash your hands after attaching the collar and make sure it is secure enough that pets cannot easily remove it, ingesting it accidentally in the process. Studies show that puppies and toy breed dogs, particularly the Chihuahua and Pomeranian, are susceptible to severe poisoning upon ingestion of a flea and tick collar containing amitraz.

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Diagnosis of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs

When diagnosing poisoning from a flea and tick collar or from the residue left on the hair and skin, the veterinarian will come to a conclusion based on the history and specifics that you are able to provide, if any, and the clinical signs. If you see that your pet is showing signs of a poisoning like loss of bodily movement control or vomiting, remove the flea collar right away, or in the case of ingestion bring the remains of the collar in with you when you go to the clinic or emergency room. Provide the veterinarian with as much information as possible, such as recent illnesses, changes in behavior that you may have noticed, and the approximate length of time that your pet has been exhibiting the symptoms. The veterinarian may order blood tests, urinalysis, and abdominal x-rays but the timing of these tests will depend upon the immediate condition of your dog.

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Treatment of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs

Flea collar poisoning is treated with support therapy and medication. Vomiting may be induced by the veterinary team, depending on the timing and chemical in the collar, and whether your pet is in a depressed state (as there could be risk of aspiration pneumonia). Activated charcoal may be used to bind the poison.

Fluid therapy will likely be started, and your canine companion will be closely monitored. The veterinary team will check at regular intervals, your dog’s blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, blood markers, and urine production. If your pet is dehydrated the fluid therapy will ensure that he is getting enough liquids. Medication to counteract the effects of the toxicity will be administered as well if possible

If the x-rays have shown the location of the collar in the intestine or stomach (or the absence, meaning the pieces did leave the body with the vomitus) an endoscopic procedure could be considered to remove it. In addition, your dog’s hair will be gently washed to remove all traces of the chemicals released by the flea collar.

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Recovery of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs

While there are risks of toxicity if used inappropriately or eaten, veterinary approved flea and tick collars are generally quite safe if used properly.  With both amitraz and propoxur, the prognosis can be favorable with early treatment. This is why it is so important to visit a veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your dog has ingested a poisonous substance. Your pet may recover, but the length of time it takes for him to get back to normal will depend on the level of toxicity and his state of health at the time of the incident. When dealing with a flea or tick problem, always consult your veterinarian for advice on the best products to use.

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Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning Average Cost

From 55 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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Written by hannah hollinger

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Published: 06/26/2016, edited: 03/11/2021

Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Jack Russell

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Uncontrollable Pee

We bought a flea collar for my dog about two days ago from the brand Vetality. After putting the collar on him he started coughing and shaking. He then started peeing while walking and we decided to take the collar off of him which has left a red, bloody, mark on his neck. He then walked to my mom and lifted his leg and peed on her. Any clue as to if it was a type of poisoning or is he just acting out?

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Many over-the-counter flea collars are quite irritating and potentially toxic. I cannot comment on what might have happened with that flea collar, you may want to call a pet poison control hotline to see what the ingredients in that color are. In the future, it would probably be best to stick to a prescription flea control product from your veterinarian, as those are safe. If he continues to have problems, it would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian. I hope that he is okay.

July 28, 2020

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German Shepherd

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tired Crying When Picked Up

We put a flea collar on 2 days ago. She started to get tired and sleepy, cries when picked up. Took the collar off and washed her. She is starting to move more now and eating, drinking and going to the bathroom ok.

July 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Some OTC flea collars are very hard on dogs, and taking the collar off and bathing her was the right thing to do. If she continues to become more active and normal over the next 12-24 hours, you should be okay to monitor her. If she continues to be lethargic, or starts vomiting or not eating, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. It would also be a good idea to contact your veterinarian to get oral flea prevention, as that may be safer for her. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 18, 2020

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Boxer

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Infection Rash

Put a serestro collar on my dog a week ago and his neck is now rubbed raw with infection coming out of it. I’ve been giving him Benadryl and keeping it clean with peroxide and antibiotic ointment. His vet can’t get him in until 2 weeks which freaks me out but I was just curious if there’s anything else I can do to help him heal?

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. What you are doing seems like appropriate first aid, other than peroxide can actually be harmful to tissues, and it may help to use a chlorhexidine solution like Hibiclens, gently, twice a day. If the infection is worsening, it may be a good idea to call your veterinarian and stress the importance of the situation, You may have to wait to walk in, but they may be able to get you in sooner. I hope that all goes well.

July 16, 2020

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Terrier Lab mix

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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Lethargy, Weak, Vomiting, Refusal To Eat Or Drink.

My dog, Dante, ate his flea collar today and has been vomiting ever since. He won't drink or eat, nor will he really move on his own. What should I do? The vets near us aren't open do to COVID-19.

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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I'm sorry that your dog is having problems. Dante needs to be seen by a veterinarian right away. If your veterinarian is not open, they will have an emergency contact on their answering machine. Emergency veterinary clinics are open, as they are an essential service. It is important to find care for him right away. I hope he is okay.

July 13, 2020

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Buddy

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pitbull

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6 Years

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Fair severity

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No Symptoms

Hi, I just bought the seresto flea collar for my pitbull and he has been wearing it for 2 days. He is fine but after the reading these reviews I am a bit worried I should take it off him. Is the a flea control you would recommend that is safer for dogs?

Sept. 11, 2018

Buddy's Owner

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Elvis

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Australian Shepherd

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Lethargy

I bought one of these collars at Costco and wish I hadn't. I put it on my 11, going on 12 year old and very active dog just before we went on a 8 mile hike. That was about 4 weeks ago. The collar was correctly fitted, so he did not ingest it. But about 5 days ago, he started getting very slow on walks. 4 days ago, he slept all day and could barely get off the sofa. I had to pick him up to put him on the bed at night. His appetite was as good as ever but when it came to his evening walk, I had to go at a snail's pace and he sat down on 2 occasions. I wasn't sure he'd make it and we only went around one block. For his whole life (I rescued him when he was 3 months), he has walked a minimum of an hour a day and he still jogs with me sometimes. This behavior was exceptional and unusual. When I petted him while he was lying on the sofa - his tail didn't wag, his paw didn't come up and his eyes looked like he was dying inside. I thought maybe old age had finally caught up with him (he's a medium sized dog) but it was far too sudden. I had heard that these flea collars could cause problems, so I had been attentive in the first few days. I hadn't realized the effect could be cumulative or that he would go down hill, so fast 3 weeks after wearing it. I cut the collar off a couple of nights ago (he screeched when I gently) lifted his head to take it off) and bathed him, thoroughly. The next morning, his eyes were alert again and he kept up, walking a few blocks, morning and evening. Today, he is back to usual, he bounded past me to get out into the yard and came running for his food. He doesn't have the clumsy gait he had, almost like a limp but not quite - like he didn't have the energy. If he is lying down and I pet him, the paw comes up and his tail wags and he makes eye contact. If I hadn't cut the collar off, I have no doubt that he'd have been dead within days. I looked up a website that showed fatalities and serious harm to dogs AND humans caused by these collars. I cannot believe that they allow them to be sold. I have since read horror stories of people's dogs dying, them thinking it was old age and putting the collar on a younger dog they have and that dog dying too. I'd rather my dogs have fleas than be dead! I'm going back to the diatomaceous earth that I have always used and I wish I'd never put him through this horrific experience. He is too old to go out due to a flea collar!

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Lio

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Chiweenie

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7 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Lio is a 7 month Chiweenie and he’s about 6-7 pounds, I first put the color on him and everything seemed fine but as we were driving he started to vomit and he fell asleep in a sitting position which is very not like my dog because he loves car rides and the car is not a place he can sleep in, his eyes weren’t able to stay open and this was all within the same day and a 8 hr period, as soon as he threw up I knew it had to have been the collar so I did my research because at the time I thought it was safe and good for dogs, I was very wrong. I’m also pregnant and carrying him and cuddling with him also made me very light headed and sick, it’s not morning sickness because not only have I got over my morning sickness my 1st month of pregnancy but I’m on my 7th month and I don’t get sick like that anymore, flea collars are scams and TOXIC to dogs and humans.

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Rex

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Mix breed

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

bought the soresto flea collar for My two dogs . My larger one seems to be ok for now but my smaller mixed breed dog started itching a lot more since I put the collar on 2 months ago. No fleas or ticks but itchy all the time . But I figured since they didn’t have fleas or ticks it was doing it’s job. He also had explosive diarrhea in middle of night all over the couches a few weeks ago but figured he just got into something. Still did not think anything of it until tonight. He had a seizure that lasted about 3-5mins. And now I am not sure if this was his first seizure since they are home alone during the day while we are at work. I did not even think of the collar until reading a bunch of reviews online . I had no idea ! I don’t know if it’s a bad reaction or if he ingested some as he plays with my other dog and bites his fur a lot . which I found out that the chemicals in it leaves a residue on their fur. I am scared for him I hope he will be ok and will take him to the vet tomorrow even though we really can’t afford it but will do anything to make sure he is ok . Any suggestions on if I should try and get my money back ? Should I take it off the larger dog too even though he hasn’t had any side effects ?

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Woody

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Fox red labrador

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19 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

I can only assume that since Woody chewed his tick collar to pieces, he has developed diarrhoea. When he tries passing, he only manages a small amount of diarrhoea and after lots of moves around the garden, it then seems like he is constipated and passes very small amounts. He still has an appetite, but is lethargic at times during the day after trying to pass but can then be his normal lively self, if for instance someone comes to the door or his litter brother wants to playfight. I am going to try the 14 hour starve and try him with boiled white rice or scrambled egg and charcoal biscuits and hope he will be back to health. We have also removed his brother Yogi’s tick collar to eliminate the situation, although he has always had a stronger stomach.

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Timber

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Ausky

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3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Our Ausky was eating his fur off and miserable, we had tried diy treatments with a little relief. We had been given the Seresto collar so we tried it on him, within 4 hour he had diarrhea and tinkled in the kitchen which is not like him at all. He has laid around all morning after that, I took the collar off so praying that he recovers quick. The collar was on him a total of 7 hours , after it being on 3 hours is when everything started .(middle of the night ) Never again !!

Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning Average Cost

From 55 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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