9/28/2001 9:55 PM
By: Kelly Kyle and Web Staff
For the last two months, Environmental Protection Agency scientists have reviewed nearly 4,000 pages of information on Hartz flea and tick products.
Now their report is ready and has been sent to an EPA regulatory committee that will decide what action to take. In the last two years there have been thousands of reported cases of cats and dogs getting sick from certain Hartz Mountain Corp. products.
“I’ve actually had one of my own patients die after application of over-the-counter flea product,” said Dr. Christine Duvall, an Austin veterinarian.
“He was shaking pretty much uncontrollably,” said Josh Janicek, speaking of his cat. “He was acting really weird, like he was freezing to death.”
“He was dizzy. He was nauseous. He was throwing up, uh, he wouldn’t eat. He was so weak he couldn’t hardly stand up,” said Barbara Warfield, speaking of his dog.
“He got on the bed and he was like twitching and had violent tremors and he looked like he was disillusioned, like he was kind of swatting at weird things and his whole body was shaking,” said Ileen Thar, a cat owner.
Each of these pet owners incurred not only large veterinarian bills, but a lot of worry and anguish over the possibility of losing their pet.
“We came so close to losing him when he was little and I was just scared to death this was going to be it,” said Warfield. “You just don’t know how sick that baby was.”
The EPA has a few options after reviewing the products. They can decide to have the products re-labled, recalled or decide no action is necessary.
Dr. Albert Ahn, a veterinarian for Hartz, said this was the first
time he heard that the report was finally completed by the EPA.
“We are looking forward to receiving the report from the Environmental Protection Agency and as Hartz has done in the past, we will continue to work with them in a cooperative manner,” said Ahn.
Ahn also said millions of these products are used everyday without incident. But local veterinarians still hope the product will be taken out of stores.
“You would think that after so many reports they would want to take the product off the shelf, but they are making so much money that they’re not,” said Dr. Duvall.
News 8 Austin has requested a copy of the EPA’s 20-page report under the federal freedom of information act.
The EPA has 20 working days to respond to our request. As soon as we receive that report, we will pass along the findings.