Zodiac Flea Spot Treatment almost killed both of my cats! :(

Unfortunately, I was not aware of the fatal consequences of many of the flea prevention spot treatments.  I have 2 cats, Seven is 3 years old and Russia is 8 and a half months old.  They are truly the highlight of my day, mainly because they are with me when I get up in the morning and right there every night when I go to bed.  Well, yesterday evening I put the Zodiac flea spot treatment on both of my cats around 8pm after noticing them scratching a few times around the collars.  My mother had given me the tube because it was left over from my parents cats.  At 3am this morning I woke up to one of the cats racing through the apartment banging herself against the walls.  When I got into the spare bedroom Russia (the youngest one) was laying on the floor tremoring and gasping for breath in her own urine.  When I realized there was something REALLY wrong I called for my fiance to get up and find Seven (the other cat).  He nearly broke the bed trying to get her out and she, as well, was tremoring and having a hard time breathing.  I KNEW it had to have been the flea treatment because it was the ONLY thing common to the situation.  In a panic I got them in the carriers and to the ER vet…I was crying so hysterically my fiance had to drive.  It was fortunate that I woke up and found them when I did, because the vet told me that from the tremors, their body temperature had risen to a FATAL level and a few more hours, they would have been dead.  Basically, the zodiac flea treatment had poisoned them and it was shutting down their nervous system.  Needless to say, many tears, an EXTREMELY large vet bill for 2 cats later, my poor babies are currently sedated on IV fluids and medication to counteract the poison from this TERRIBLE flea treatment.

As of now, they are hopefully going to make it through this, but I have been informed by my vet that there could be greater consequences that won’t show up until later on because of the toxicity of the treatment.  I truly beleive something needs to be done.  It is a disgrace…literally.

35 Replies to “Zodiac Flea Spot Treatment almost killed both of my cats! :(”

    1. Thanks for info I was fixen to put zodiac on my kittens… thanks a million will only get my stuff from the vet from now on…. sorry about your little babies….

    2. You have to keep the animals separated, so they don’t lick the drops off each other.

      Your ignorance in the correct use is why your cats are in the hospital.

  1. OMG! I am so sorry to hear about your babies! That must have been terrifying for you and your fiance. I am SO GLAD that you took the time to report this very dangerous situation in that I was going to purchase Hartz Flea & Tick medication this evening. I think I will buy another line of medication altogether. Thanks again for your helpful advice.

    1. Don’t use Hartz. I bought a flea collar and put it on my babies and the collar burned the hair off my cats neck and the chemical started eating away at her skin. And it happened all with in 7 days of the collar being on her neck. it looks awful. Don’t use Hartz because Hartz hurts

  2. Dear Laura,

    As Hartz’ Vice President of Research & Development, I want to reassure you and clear up any misunderstanding about the safety of Hartz Flea and Tick topical treatments.

    In your comment to the March 9th post by SevandRush regarding a product called Zodiac Flea Spot Treatment, you referenced a Hartz Flea & Tick medication and your reluctance to buy it because of SevandRush’s experience with a Zodiac product. I want to point out that Zodiac is a completely different company, Hartz has never produced a product under the name Zodiac Flea Spot Treatment and does not own the brand Zodiac, nor is Hartz affiliated with that company in any way. Hartz’ flea & tick products are sold under the Hartz® brand name.
    Safety is the highest priority for all of Hartz flea and tick products, and the formulas we use ? for both dog and cat products ? contains active ingredients that the EPA rates as being in the lowest toxicity categories. The formula for Hartz UltraGuard® Pro Flea and Tick drops for Cats, which contains etofenprox, has been given the highest safety rating by the EPA, with the lowest possible toxicity of any cat topical product available for sale today, either through your local merchandiser or from your vet.  
    If you have any further questions about Hartz products, please contact me at [email protected].

    Best wishes,
    Dr. Marta Draper

    1. Your flea drops killed my Diamond. After putting the drops on her she went crazy. We tried washing it off but she died. NEVER again will I use this shirt on any of my animals. Diamond was only a year old and very healthy

  3. As to Dr. Marta Draper,

    I would like to ensure everyone that I am well aware that Zodiac flea medication is not affiliated with Hartz, what-so-ever. What I do want to clear up is that after spending days in the Vet’s office and talking with them about the situation with my own personal experience, they brought it to my attention that not only are the active ingredients in ZODIAC deadly to cats, but as are the active ingredients in Hartz. They have multiple cases per year of cats that suffer illness and death because of HARTZ flea medication. I find it sickening to think that the manufacturer of the Hartz brand actually thinks their product is safe for animals when there have been numerous deaths due to the products. Regardless of what happened with my poor babies because of the Zodiac medication, it is my mission to warn pet owners about the dangers of MANY flea and tick medications.

    1. I used the Zodiac flea medication on both my dogs. This stuff don’t kill fleas their eggs or anything else. My dog Spike is only 3 years old am Foxes is real old we figure she has to be around 17 years.She was a rescue so we’re not sure of her real age.

    2. My dog was severely burned because of hartz product.
      I reluctantly used the zodiac shampoo ok my cat this afternoon and also the drops on my dog. I’ve heard very good things about the zodiac product from friends of mine that use it….

      It may be due to an allergy that the pets are having.
      Both my cat and dog seem perfectly fine. I used this about 5 hous ago and I’ve seen no change in them. Other than the constand itching has stopped…

      That being said. I am so deeply sorry for the losses that has come about using this product. And I pray that my fur babies do not have such an adverse reaction….

  4. Dr. Marta Draper,

    Dr. Draper, with all due respect, why do you and others at Hartz Mountain believe all of us out here are simply ignorant? Your comments about the safety of Hartz’s flea and tick products are misleading at best and complete falsehoods at worst. We are aware that Hartz’s cat and kitten product was Cancelled by the EPA in 2005 and all remaining products in the distribution channel forced by the EPA to be removed in 2006. That’s not ancient history. And last Wednesday, April 16th, 2009, the EPA made a public announcement regarding topical spot-ons and again indicated increased scrutiny because of a spike in reported potential adverse incidents. Hartz Mountain’s cat products were on their list. The EPA stated that over 44,000 adverse incidents were reported in 2008 alone. That represented a tremendous increase in the 28,000 plus incidents reported in 2007. Hartz did not represent all of these incidents, of course, but enough to cause the EPA concern about Hartz’s products once again. You continue to use phenothrin, a synthetic pyrethroid, which is a neurotoxin, as your primary ingredient in your dog products. The ingredients in your dog products is precisely the same as the ingredients in your cat products that were Cancelled by the EPA in 2005. As a matter of fact, your volume of phenothrin, 85.7% is the highest in the industry by a significant margin. Phenothrin is a 40 year old neurotoxin that has been banned for other uses in this country and others. You use it because it’s cheap, and your profit margins are tremendous. There are many safer alternatives available but your profit margins wouldn’t be the same would they? Hartz has made the decision to defend itself from consumers and the media by legal threats, intimidation and obfuscation of the facts as opposed to doing the right thing and reformulating to the safer alternatives. This is a very short-sighted decision. Recently momentum has been building against your flea and tick products, their ingredients and the terrible damage they do to pets and families. The media is beginning to help the consumer on this subject and is displaying new courage in telling the truth about your products and creating a much needed public awareness. Even the EPA is once again unable to ignore the body count. You should be ashamed of yourself for attempting to defend the indefensible. And one more thing, your legal department’s intimidation of Dr. Khuly in Miami, the Miami Herald, KNBC Los Angeles, CBS-TV in Kansas City and other media outlets, veterinarians and private citizens will not work. Hartz has a long history and a recognizable brand name. You are now at a crossroads–you can choose to proactively do the right thing and demonstrate pet care leadership and use the safer alternatives or you can continue to obfuscate, intimidate, nuance and manipulate facts, all the while continuing to distribute products that have been shown and documented to damage animals. The choice is yours but the consumers (and possibly regulatory agencies) will be the final arbiter.

  5. What I’ve learned, the bulk of the problems are caused by the more potent “Flea AND TICK” treatments than the milder Flea only drops.

    Also… Some drops advertise themselves as better because they kill fleas “before they bite” (the safer flea drops require the flea to eat a blood meal before they kill).

    Here in America, “bigger, stronger, and more powerful” is what sells… Sad they are not required to disclose the big guns flea and tick meds are more dangerous than the basic flea protection.

    You should only use tick killer on pets that have a substantial problems with ticks. Avoid the “kills fleas before they bite” drops… They are substantially more TOXIC than the one that kills after a blood meal (starts with an “A”).

    Most monthly treatments are good for 6 weeks… I never treat my pet unless and until I notice a flea problem.

  6. I used flea spot treatment on my cats today. One is fine but the other one just threw up some 18 hours later. Other than that his temp and all seem to be fine. Thanks for these posts. I’m not using the over the counter flea treatments again–ever.

  7. Shame on you for defending the industrial pesticide you peddle to unknowing people simply trying to better their animal. Your company refuses to compensate for damages that were clearly caused by the pesticide in Hartz Flea & Tick spray, refuses to address the numerous accounts of trauma caused by HARTZ PRODUCTS. If you had any compassion for animals yourself you would quit your job and stop the application of such products.

    I hope you can live well knowing the product you help promote kills animals and takes away loved family members. Dr. Marta Draper, the Dr. of pet death.


  8. Maybe if you people would number one, READ THE BOX and number two, DONT BE SO CHEAP AND BUY THE PROPER STUFF FROM YOUR VET, you wouldnt have this problem. You wouldnt put monkey medicine on a human baby would you? I didnt think so.


    Thank you.
    Dr. Jessica

    1. I’m looking at a zodiac flea control box and it doesn’t even list ingredients anywhere beyond the 3 active ingredient me tho present, and then just other ingredients 96.4%, so reading the box isn’t necessarily as easy as you claim

    2. Hey, you stupid whore. Why don’t shut the fuck up and see how that works for medicine? It’s 2017 we should have a firm grasp of which medication kills cats and which doesn’t. Monkey medicine for a baby.. are you fucking retarded? The fuck does that even mean. A better question is would you sell medicine to people that cures rashes, but might kill them instead? For God sakes.

  9. Dr. Jessica,

    I’ve been reminding people of the same thing–read the label and don’t put dog medication on a cat. That’s critical based upon the product ingredients.

    However, it would have been even more constructive on your part if you had addressed the issue of these destructive over the counter topicals containing pesticide ingredients. Even when properly applied (proper animal, size, age, health, etc.) these products have caused enormous damage and devastation over the years. I’m sure, as a veterinarian, you’re well aware of this. Unfortunately, many people cannot afford Frontline and Advantage from their vet (incidentally, those products have not been without their own problems although I DO believe it’s imperative to speak with veterinarians before applying any product) and most of us believed (before our pet was injured or killed) that if a government regulatory agency (EPA) and state agencies register these products then some credible safety standards would apply. Unfortunately, many of us have learned the hard way that this expectation is naive’–the EPA has been intransigent and the manufacturers are reprehensible in their focus on money versus true petcare.

    You veterinarians could do a lot more to help with awareness and education. I’ve never spoken with a veterinarian, veterinary academic, technician or anyone associated in the veterinary field that will defend these products with the exception of the “house vets” employed by the manufacturers. Additionally there are veterinary schools and other organizations and companies that accept donations from the manufacturers and are fearful of defunding or legal intimidation and they sacrifice principle for greed or fear. Many veterinarians do not have the courage to speak up and make their voices and opinions heard because they feel intimidated by their employer or by the manufacturers’ legal teams (or a fear of losing funding, grants, donations, “veterianrian of the year” awards, etc.). Thankfully, there are more and more veterinarians that have seen enough suffering and have the principle and courage to say or do something. I’ve been personally gratified with the support–scientific, communication, documentation, willingness to be interviewed by the media, etc.–that I’ve been given. And the real beauty is that those that are helping me are passionate and relentless in the objective of getting these despicable products out of the marketplace.

    You gave some good, albeit, stern advice. I wish you had taken it a step further and written as a veterinarian about the damage you’ve seen done to animals–and pet owners–by these products.

  10. Hello, I could be wrong, but I get the impression from some of these messages that Zodiac spot-on has caused harm. I bought this products for fleas but haven’t applied it yet because I wanted to get some feedback from those who have already used it. The active ingredient, S-Meth(something) is the same as the one in Frontline but in a lesser dosage. I don’t see anyone mentioning that Frontline killed their cat. I’m assuming if 3% can do damage, then, 11% should do much more. Every pet store I walk into heralds Frontline as the product to use. Now, I’m terrified of using Frontline or any other product that shares the same active ingredient.

  11. I purchased a Zodiac flea collar for my cat today. Within 30 minutes after I put it on her, she was wheezing and her muscles were twitching. She was disoriented. I had to rush her to the vet for an emergency after-hours visit. My cat is spending the night at the vet’s office tonight receiving fluids and medications to treat pesticide poisoning. The collar contains propoxur, the same active ingredient in Hartz products. The vet mentioned that she sees several animals each month for pesticide poisoning from flea/tick treatments. She said that Hartz is one of the most common brands mentioned by pet owners who have to bring their pets in to be treated for reactions to flea/tick treatments.

  12. I used zodiac flea treatment on my long haired cat, when she was about 4 years old. I’ll never forget that night. I woke up to what I thought was a child screaming, to find out that it was my cat. She was on the floor beside my bed flipping around screaming and very disoriented and was trying to pretty mush eat at her neck where i had put the drops on. I immediatly gave her a bath to wash it off. Luckily unlike some of the ogther users I caught it quick enough and didnt have to take her to the vet. She calmed right down after I washed her. The scary part is that my vet reccommened it as a cheaper alternative to their expensive drops. I learned my lesson, spend the money in the beginning people cause it will save u in the end. I will never ever ever ever use a OTC flea drop again!!!! Its pretty terrible!!!!

  13. I just used a Zodiac product on my cat today. We’ll be using it on all our animals. We’ve been having a flea problem for over 3 months now. We’ve used every natural remedy we could get our hands on, and kept the house spotless and cleaned. We even moved.
    I will assure many pet owners that as much as these things may happen to some pets – which is terrible, and I’m sorry – it does not happen to all pets. I feel that when these things happen it might be a defective capsule, or an allergic reaction.
    HARTZ is a terrible company. Zodiac does have less issues, but there are still harmful chemicals. I believe that these flea drops should be used as a last resort, and if you knowingly have a pet with allergies / regular seizures, etc. you should ALWAYS contact a reputable vetnarian before buying this or ANY product that contains chemicals.
    As for people who are looking for something to control the flea population in their homes. I recommend Brewer’s Yeast, diatomaceous earth, teatree oil, frequent bathing, washing floors, etc.

  14. Wow I’m really gald this was posted up. I was just at the vet picking up my cat from the stay he had over there for his urinary tract obstruction. He is completely fine now just to note. A man came rushing in for an emergency regarding his cat. His cat had a seizure and I could see the poor thing trembling and his meow sounded like a hurt bird chirping out in pain. The man said it was a reaction to a flea medication called Zodiac, I was alerted and sad to hear about what happened so I decided to go look it up. My cat doesn’t have fleas but I think its great to know about things like this. I really hope that cat will be fine and thank you so much for posting this! Now I have two medications I will be looking out for (Zodiac and Metacam).

  15. I have used Zodiac spot on 2 a couple of times without any problems (cats and dogs) but after reading all of this I wont do that again! Better safe than VERY sorry! As for Harts and or any other ones – I have no idea but I won’t be buying them either!

  16. I bought zodiac flea and tick my cat started running around acting crazy she started hissing at me wouldn’t let me come near her she is normally a sweet natured cat I’m so upset i used this product and advise anyone who reads this never use this product on your cat

    1. My cat is 10 months old and I put zodiac flea drops on him yesterday. He seems fine but very itchy where it was put. Does it actually work, we bought a $16 zodiac pack of 4 drops?

  17. Last night applied Zodiac Spot On treatment for Cats to my cat. This morning my husband woke me up to advise me that it appeared my cat had a stroke. He said she gripped on to the carpet and convulsed and was crying out in pain. When I got to her she was drooling and tremoring. It’s by far the worst thing I’ve seen happen to an animal. We rushed her to an ER vet and she was immediately admitted and started receiving medication and fluids. She is currently being held over night for medication and observations. They gave her a 50/50 chance of recovering from this poisoning. Our vet advised they see this happen way too many times. It sickens me that it’s a possibility of even happening. I’d never intentionally put something on my animal to harm them. Please please no body use this product and help spread the word.

  18. Wow Dr. Jessica, I know what vet I wouldn’t use if you were in my area. I do agree with taking our pets to see a vet, but as mentioned above, some simply can’t afford it, it doesn’t make them bad pet parents as long as the proper medicine is going on the right animal if the are buying generic at the pet stores. It’s sad your pompous attitude is shared by many in your field, but so many of you don’t even try to help those a little tight on finances. Our vet does help those in need, and I gladly make a couple donations a year to his practice to help offset his loss from kindness

  19. I got one if the topical solution for cats St the local pet store. Used it on my cat but later found this website. Ayer reading all the replies here I got very anxious and panicky. I was checking my cat every fee minutes to make sure she is OK. Today 24 hours later she is still fine, acting normal and I used the flea comb thus morning and I found few dead fleas, thus afternoon I didn’t find any fleas. Glad that everything is OK with my cat. Very sorry for all the other cats that got some medical conditions after using one if those flea treatment. I got so scared that probably won’t buy it again and won’t even use the rest I have in the box next month or any moth after. Just very happy that my cat is OK.

  20. I just lost a couple cat’s to this stuff. They started hissing and running into walls, My vet said it was the Hartz flea and tick drops and the chemical found in them. Nothing I can do apparently, Tomorrow I’m giving a local lawyer a 800$ retainer fee to look into it for me. So sick over this right now it’s unreal.

  21. Ok why would you take any topical poison that is not in the box are u sure it was for cats, from ur description it’s exactly what happens when u put solution for small dogs on a cat! I have used zodiac on all three cats that have never had any kind of product used on them before,vi didn’t separate them and they did fine! I truly believe this is not the products fault but the owners! I am very sorry it happened and I hope your fur babies are ok!

  22. I have to agree with Lea.

    Fleas are not easy to get rid of. You have to get the spray for your baseboards as they can hide in small areas and lay dormant for up to 2 years. You need the spray for your furniture and carpets.
    You need the shampoo and there is an after spray to get as well. You can get drops for the back of your cats neck to keep fleas from jumping back on afterwards, but it’s a serious process to make sure they are exterminated.
    I can honestly say I have used Zodiac for 15 years for 5 or 6 bouts of fleas over the years as I have cats that go outside. It has ALWAYS worked amazing. When you use Zodiac properly it WILL get rid of fleas. No offense to the Hartz company but they sell absolute JUNK. It doesnt work one bit. Never has. I have tried thier stuff over the years because it’s cheaper and I am lured to the idea of saving a few dollars. However it comes down to …do you want to get rid of fleas or you want to battle an infestation of them?

    (Personally I think the whole thing might be Hartz trying to talk poorly about Zodiac because they know thier products do not work. They know.)

    ALSO, flea collars are dangerous because your animal can get snagged on something and strangle themselves to death. Almost happened to a Siamese cat that had one on and was jumping down from the fireplace and got snagged on a hook in the wall and if I wasnt there to get him down he would have been strangled to death.

    There is a possibility that an animal would have an allergy to flea medication but I personally think it’s crazy to feed an animal a substance that kills something as resiliant as an external blood feeding parasite.

    Also fleas tend to be more active in spring and fall. just coming into contact with another animal that has them is enough for them to become infected.

    Just my humble opinion and lots of experience with fleas.

Leave a Reply

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