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.

17 thoughts on “Zodiac Flea Spot Treatment almost killed both of my cats! :(”

  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.

  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

  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.

  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

  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!

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