Flea Collar Poisoned My Cat

I just got back from the vet’s. My cat had been stumbling, weak, sleeping a lot, and not purring when petted. He kept eating and drinking, but he had trouble jumping up on his favorite perches, and he had lost all interest in playing.

I was worried about Lyme Disease, because we just moved to one of the worst areas for Deer Ticks. The vet tech asked what we used to control ticks. I told her that we had usually used Frontline TopSpot once a month, in Oregon. But I was dismayed that the Frontline only seemed to work for 2-3 weeks here in New York State, so instead of reapplying it (not wanting to overdose my sweet kitty), I just put a Hartz 2-in-1 Flea Collar on him.

She got a horrified look on her face and said, “Hartz?! Oh no!”

I then told her that the next day he was outside all day (much longer than usual) and came home collarless, so he only had it on for a 12 hours at most. But then the vet told us that in pulling off the collar, cats sometimes bite it, and get a toxic dose of the pesticide.

I was trying to protect my cat from ticks, but it turns out I just put him in greater danger. The vet said it’s much safer to reapply the Frontline every three weeks, and just pull the ticks off with tweezers when they do appear. He said he has never seen Lyme disease in a cat, but he sees dozens of Hartz poisonings every year, and about 10% of the animals who have a reaction, cannot be saved.

Luckily for my family, our cat is young and was in very good health, and had already started to improve before we got to the vet, so he will most likely be okay in a few days. But if my cat had been older, or a kitten, or had swallowed part of the collar, he might have died.

Hartz needs to take all its pesticide products off the market. There is no excuse for marketing this DEADLY POISON over the counter as “medicine”, when humans need prescriptions for relatively harmless stuff like antibiotics or cough syrup! This is not a matter of not following directions – this is a bad product that tricks people into exposing their own beloved pets to harmful, potentially deadly poisons.

Just as guilty are the retailers who continue to sell the stuff, if they know about this problem. I don’t like class-action lawsuits because they mainly benefit the torte attorneys and often result in compromise settlements that allow the product to stay on the market. And although I’m a paralegal, I’m not particularly litigious, and would not sue just for myself, either. This website is very helpful, and I hope it leads to more news articles and publicity. Tell your friends to boycott Hartz food, litter and toys until they pull the poisons.

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