This is the story that was aired
on Austin’s News 8. Elise and I contacted News 8 the morning we found
Riley had become ill after having been given the Hartz Advanced Care Flea & Tick Drops
Plus for cats.
Cats can react to flea medication
6/27/2001 8:28 AM
By: Doug Shupe, News 8 Austin
Some cat owners are worried the cure for fleas may be worse than the problem.
Josh Janicek and Elise Boeckman thought their cat Riley would never play like the way he used to.
In fact last Friday morning they didn’t think he would live.
They used an over-the-counter product called Hartz Advanced Care Flea & Tick Drops Plus.
Janicek and Boeckman said they followed the directions and applied the product on Riley’s back. And less than 12 hours later, they said, Riley was acting very strange.
“He was shaking uncontrollably, he was acting really weird like he was freezing to death and he was acting like he was hallucinating, he was swatting at invisible things,? Janicek said.
They immediately called an emergency veterinarian hospital and took him in. Dr. Chris Duvall said that since flea season has started she’s seen other cats with the same kind of problems. Other vets have made similar reports. The vets said the symptoms can be fatal if animals don’t get treatment quickly … like Riley did.
“Cats are very sensitive to drugs because they have very unique livers and they metabolize drugs very poorly so they are very sensitive to a lot of things,? Duvall said.
That’s why Duval recommends pet owners avoid over-the-counter treatments and stick to prescription drugs from veterinarians. Duvall said pet owners should never use a product meant for a dog on a cat. She said if you use an over-the-counter product on your animal and notice a strange reaction, you should wash the animal with a liquid dish detergent and call a veterinarian.
“The newer compounds we are selling at the veterinary products are Midicloprid and Fiprinil and they are very safe they are very new compounds that attack the insect’s nervous system but have no affect on mammals people or animals where the older compounds Pyrethrian is a pesticide that’s been around for 30 years. It’s been around a long time and it’s never really worked well and it’s always caused problems,? Duvall said.
But she warned consumers not to be fooled. Both products look very similar.
“The over-the-counter products you see in the grocery store and pet stores are packaged almost identically to the veterinary products so clients actually think they are buying the veterinary product and are putting it on their cat and it’s a totally different ingredient,? Duvall said.
When asked for a comment The Hartz Mountain Corp. responded in written statement, “In certain cases, cats may have a genuine reaction to a flea and tick product. It’s like people and medicines — some people cannot take certain medicines.”
Janicek and Boeckman are happy to have Riley back to normal. They said they?re not taking any more chances. They’ll read the ingredients first and ask their vet if the product will be safe for Riley.