One year and eight months ago I applied Hartz Flea drops to my cat, Alfie. I never realized there was trouble with this product. Frankly, I had been using it for years on two of my other cats and friends cats when they stayed with me. I am surprised I never poisoned a cat before Alfie. So, in all confidence I bought them at the store (the gentle formula as it was new and I thought better). I always apply flea meds on the 18th of the month at around 6 PM. Unknowingly I went off to bed.
At 5 AM I awoke to feed my pets and give Cativo his insulin shot. I noticed Alfie under a chair but didn’t think much about it. When I returned, I still noticed Alfie under a chair, only this time I noticed he was shaking. I went over and tried to get him out, he couldn’t move. I don’t know how I made the connection, but I immediately thought he’d been poisoned. It was the first time Alfie had anything besides Revolution for kittens. I had just moved and thank God I had asked my new vet for directions to the ER vet in case my beloved Cativo had hypoglycemia.
I rushed to the phone and called the ER vet’s office. They told me to wash his back as best I could and rush him there. The entire time I was so scared I would lose him. He looked so frightened and helpless. I scrubbed as much off as I could, put him in his carrier and rushed out the door with the Hartz package in hand.
When I arrived at the ER vet, they immediately went to work bathing him and pumping him full of IVs. The ER vet looked at the package and said, “Hartz? Never use Hartz. If you have to use over-the-counter, use bio-spot or something but never Hartz.” I said, “If that’s the case, why doesn’t anyone warn us?” I never did get a satisfactory answer. I was there two hours while they fought for Alfie’s life.
Later, I drove Alfie to my regular vet with the other three cats in tow. I wasn’t going to take any chances. I still didn’t know if it was just the gentle formula or all Hartz. My regular vet amazingly told me the same thing, Hartz is the most common cause of this reaction. I asked him why my other cats had never reacted. He said he didn’t know. What he told me is that Hartz, Revolution and Advantage use different formulas with different main ingredients. The ingredient in Hartz seems to have the most adverse reactions. I left Alfie there for treatment and my other cats to have baths and to be observed for reactions.
When I got to work, I called my old vet. He told me the same thing. Three vets in three different cities with the same story! If this was so well known, how is it that I didn’t know? Why was this killer product still on the shelves?
Alfie cost me almost $300 that day, but thank God Hartz didn’t cost him his life. I have heard this story over and over since then and Hartz remains on the shelves. If this has happened to you, I encourage you to tell everyone you see in the pet ailse at the stores or in a petstore. Talk to your local stores and encourage them to pull Hartz. Talk to your vet about always asking what flea medication their clients use or display a prominent sign that Hartz can kill! Talk to your shelters about warning new adopters never to use Hartz flea drops on their cats. Send your story to your local newspaper, radio station or TV station. The more who know, the more chance of saving lives.
Zanne and Alfie