Earlier this year, my healthy six-year-old rabbit, Callisto, was in dire need of a bath, and I was out of bunny shampoo. I had some leftover Hartz kitten shampoo and figured that, since young kittens are fairly sensitive and the shampoo wasn’t medicated, it would be safe to use on the rabbit. I was wrong.
I bathed her and went out to lunch with my cousins. Approximately two hours later, I returned home to find Callisto slumped in the corner of her cage, limp and covered in drool. She was showing signs of brain damage and had obviously had a seizure (we had an epileptic rabbit when I was younger), so we rushed her to the vet. She had another seizure and died in my arms on the way there.
The vet asked me what shampoo I’d used and didn’t think that kitten shampoo would harm a rabbit. Then she asked me what brand it was, and I told her it was Hartz. She said she’d seen numerous animals come in with life-threatening reactions to various Hartz products, and that she always advises people not to use Hartz products on any of their animals. In the end, they were unable to revive Callisto- her brain was too badly damaged. Thankfully, I hadn’t had the time to bathe my other rabbit or cats that day!
Since Callisto’s death, I’ve heard numerous Hartz horror stories. How this company can continue to market their products in good conscience is beyond me. I just hope that people will continue to get the word out and petition their local pet shops to stop carrying Hartz products. As long as Hartz products, as they stand, are on the shelves, pets will continue to suffer and die needlessly.