Yesterday afternoon, I put Hartz 3-in-1 Flea and Tick Drops on my cat according to the package directions. As I was preparing for bed, I noticed that she was having difficulty walking; her front paws especially were shaking and she was standing with one paw raised, looking puzzled. Picking her up, I noticed that she was trembling violently and non-stop, especially her head and upper body. Her eyes were rapidly blinking and her pupils were fully dilated. Her jaw was tight.
I realized she must be reacting to the flea drops as there was nothing else in the house she could have gotten into. I took her into the bathroom and attempted to wash her neck and shoulder area to remove the poison but she began having thrashing seizures, probably from fear. I wrapped her in a towel, soothed her, and put her in a box and left her alone to calm down for a few minutes while I did a quick google on the Hartz drops. I found your site, along with many others — and immediately called the emergency veterinary hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at half past midnight and the cat was given IV Valium, methocarbanol (sp?) and bathed. The vet said poisoning by Hartz products is horribly common and they treat dogs and cats for it there all the time.
As I simply could not afford the $1500. to leave her overnight for IV hydration, I had to bring her home with Robaxin, a muscle relaxant, to be given every eight hours, and hope everything would be okay until I could see the regular vet on Monday. All that didn’t stop her tremors, which were now affecting her entire body. She didn’t understand what was going on and why her body wouldn’t do what she wanted it to — she kept trying to get out of the box I had for her and falling over — so I stayed up until 5 a.m. holding her wrapped in a towel and soothing her while letting her drink huge amounts of water from a coffee mug, the only way she could manage to drink. I finally had to sleep and tucked her into the box once more, closing her in the bathroom to keep her safe.
When I got up at 9, I was honestly afraid to open the bathroom door. But the cat must have a guardian angel, because she was no longer trembling and could walk quite well. She’s a little rocky, which may be the Valium and muscle relaxants — and she managed to take a tumble down the stairs by not realizing they were there, but she picked herself up at the bottom and went to the kitchen to eat. She occasionally stumbles if she tries to go too fast, but otherwise her motor skills seem pretty good. She isn’t acting herself — she seems confused and is walking all over the house meowing. She rarely if ever meows, so I’m keeping an eye on that even though it doesn’t seem to be a pain or worry meow.
I realize that my story seems to be having a happy ending (“knock wood”), compared to so many others’ here, and I’m very grateful for that. But the poor cat went through hell and isn’t through it yet. I’m also out several hundred dollars that I can ill afford and spent a long, worried night.
I am LIVID that Hartz Mountain keeps this product on the market knowing how dangerous it is. I understand corporate greed, much as I despise it, but I’m even more angry that the EPA and whoever else regulates the pet care industry hasn’t banned the product and slapped Hartz with fines. I don’t understand why stores that advertise as being extremely pet-concerned and pet-friendly continue to carry Hartz products.
I will make the appropriate complaints tomorrow in an effort to make Hartz accountable, not only to me, but to everyone who has lost a pet or had a pet suffer needlessly.