Myself and 2 cats ill. 1 cat w/ permanent nerve damage

Two years ago we purchased the Hartz Advanced Flea & Tick drops for our two cats. We applied them in the proper dosage as directed in the evening. Afterwards, one of the cats rubbed up against me and got the foul stuff on my skin. I developed a rather nasty headache, lost my appetite and became very nauseous. Several hours later I was still ill, but figured it was just because I tend to be rather sensitive to chemicals or that maybe just the nasty smell made me sick. In the morning I noticed that my cats were laying down, unable to walk, were not alert, refused to eat, and would not meow. One of my cats was shuddering every once in awhile. I immediately jumped in the car and drove the 25 miles to the nearest vet. I live in a small town and it was a busy day. The vet didn’t know what was wrong with them or what to do with them. He said maybe they ate something that disagreed with them and sent them home. He did not ask about the flea medication and I guess I was so worried I completely forgot about. I was still feeling a bit ill from the effects myself.
A few months later one of my cats made a full recovery (except for a slight personality change), the other still has nerve damage. She seems to have problems judging distance, is constantly on edge, seems to breath abnormally, and twitches oddly. She seems to have trouble eating certain things as well. Anyways, I was checking a messageboard and one of my friends told me about the Hartz flea and tick drops nearly killing her kitten. She described the symptoms and I recalled my cats having the same thing. It suddenly clicked into place. (note: my cats did not have access to any other toxins in the house– I make sure there is nothing they can get into that will make them sick).
I started looking things up and learned that some people’s pets had died from it. I even found a website from the EPA saying that because of high volume of complaints they ordered Hartz to comply with several orders. One was that they were to remove the product as currently packaged and redistribute with different instuctions. Another was to have warnings about the danger. Yet another was to notify veteranarian offices of the dangers as well as have seminars and instructional events to show the proper application of the product. The danger warnings were supposed to say that owners should immediately wash the product off of the pet with soap and water. I noticed that the deadline for those ultimatums were prior to my purchase of the drops which still had the pre-recall packaging.
I contacted Petsmart (where I purchased the drops from) and informed them of what happened, provided a link to the EPA’s page and told them I wasn’t going to sue and didn’t want any money, I just wanted to alert them to the danger. They told me they would speak to a manager about it.
I was warning many of my petowner friends about the product and found that one of mine actually had a dog that died from it. She said all of his fur fell out and he died after she used it on him but she didn’t realize it was from the drops. She couldn’t believe they were allowed to market the product without some sort of warning.
A few months later I was speaking to my vet who said that Hartz had not made any attempt to contact their office to provide literature or any information about their product as per the orders of the EPA. She told me that Hartz was a common cause of not only severe illness, but of death of many pets. She said not to buy that stuff.
Fastforward to a couple of weeks ago. I had a discussion with one of my vets about how the heartworm medicine was recalled even though it didn’t cause death and only had reports of a few minor ailments associated with it. I said it was odd because they hadn’t seemed to recall the Hartz flea and tick drops. My veteranarian agreed with me that it was very sad. He said “phenothin kills cats”. Phenothin being the active ingredient in Hartz Flea & Tick drops. It is also a pesticide which was banned for use on lawns because it is a nerve toxin and is known to be deadly to pets. I asked the vet if he had ever been contacted by Hartz as per EPA instructions. He didn’t even know they had been ordered to recall the original packaging.
I went to Petsmart later that week and to my dismay I saw the Hartz Flea & Tick drops still on the shelves. I picked up the package and looked for warnings and instructions on what to do in case of illness, no such warnings. Nothing that says “may cause illness or death”. Not even a mild warning. Just “use as directed”. It also still contained phenothin.
It had no warnings that it could cause reactions in humans. What if someone’s cat had this applied and it rubbed up against their infant? The infant could become very ill. There was at least one adult human who had to be hospitalized because of a reaction to this stuff. Can you imagine what it would do to a baby or child that hugged the cat? It’s not just a danger to cats, it is a danger to humans!
So, as far as I can tell, Hartz has failed to comply with notifying the vets, putting sufficient warnings on the packaging, and having proper training about their product. It would seem to me that they failed to comply with the orders of the EPA and that they should be penalized and have the product removed from the shelves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *