Napoleon poisoned by Hartz Ultra Guard

The story below was sent via email by Chelsea:

A little background:  I have always been a dog lover. Unfortunately my boyfriend is severely allergic to dogs, and after 6 years of searching for the perfect hypoallergenic addition to our family we found Napoleon.

Last week, after finding a tick on Napoleon (age 8 months) I purchased Hartz Ultra Guard. I was sure to purchase the correct product (with regard to pet weight) and determined that Napoleon is old enough for product use. My sister has used this product in the past and I assumed it was safe. After applying the product on Saturday, and being careful to follow the directions, Napoleon began to refuse food. Sunday he began vomiting, which is not unusual due to his sensitive stomach. Monday the vomiting continued and I made an appointment with our vet (Doctor #1 at our clinic). At out Tuesday appointment, our vet decided to take x-rays to rule out that he had swallowed a foreign body. At this time I mentioned that I had applied this product, but no one seemed to think this was the cause of his illness. The x-rays appeared to show a “material like” foreign body that would have to be removed surgically. After several hours of IV fluids, Napoleon was sent home and scheduled for a return visit the next day. On Wednesday, a second round of x-rays (same clinic, different doctor) showed that there was a suspicious area of the stomach, that may or may not be a foreign body. I was given the option to go ahead with the surgery, or wait for a mobile ultrasound company to confirm the presence of a foreign body. I certainly wasn’t about to allow them to cut into Napoleon without being positive it was necessary. 7 hours later, the ultrasound team found no evidence of a foreign body. What they found was substantially worse. Napoleon’s stomach lining, intestines and colon were severely inflamed. This inflammation was so severe, it mimicked a foreign body on the x-ray.  At this point the vet (doctor #3) suggested that this could be due to chemical exposure or a viral illness. I reiterated that the only chemical exposure that he had had was the Hartz product. The clinic suggested I treat the symptoms with previously prescribed antibiotics, and anti-naseua medication. He was sent home with the IV catheter in his arm for a second night, incase he required further IV fluids the following day. Upon arriving home, Napoleon was lethargic and seemed to be wilting before my eyes. My previously rambunctious yorkie-poo puppy had turned into a sad shadow of himself. He began drooling, and repeatedly shaking his head. Having no experience with severely ill dogs, I did not recognize this as seizure activity. Early Thursday morning I attempted to administer an anti-naseua pill. Napoleon became stressed and began violently shaking his head, drooling, and smacking his lips. Thankfully this time I realized what was happening and did my best to calm him while gathering our things to rush to the vet. Upon arrival at the clinic we met with Doctor #2 who asked if he had been exposed to any chemicals. I reiterated that the only chemicals he had come in contact with were in the Hartz product. She suggested we run blood tests for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (“tick fever”) and Valley Fever (a common illness in Arizona). Both of these illnesses can cause seizure activity in dogs. She also agreed to do some research on the Veterinary Internet Network regarding this product. Napoleon remained at the clinic on IV for 12 hours on Thursday. Again he returned home that evening with the IV catheter still attached. Today (Friday) I took him back for a check up. He was lifting his head more, and showed more interest in the car ride, but was nowhere near his bouncy, energetic self. Doctor #2 met with us again and stated that she is confident that this is the result of exposure to the Hartz medication. She also stated that she was shocked at the number of incidences reported regarding this and similar medications. Further, she stated that she was unaware of the dangers of this product, or the EPA review.  Bloodwork for Tick Fever and Valley Fever came back negative, solidifying her diagnosis. Since Napoleon appeared a bit better, the IV catheter was removed and he was allowed to spend the day at home. Unfortunately as the day progresses, he has become more lethargic and is still refusing to eat, bringing the total to 6 days without oral nutrition. He has had another seizure (milder than yesterday’s) and continues to drool excessively.  Tomorrow will be day 5 at the vet, for another round of IVs and monitoring. If he continues refusing food, he will have gone an entire week without eating.

The current total of our vet bills is $865.32 and we expect that to increase tomorrow with the replacement of the IV line and the several hours he will be required to “rest” at the vet. This, in addition to the gasoline expense, recommended prescription diet, and time spent at the vet has added up to a very expensive tick treatment. However, the worst expense is the physical pain this ordeal has caused our little guy. I am horrified at the idea that we could have agreed to an unnecessary surgery only to find this terrible inflammation. I am shocked that this product is still on the market. Until consumers are successful in getting this product pulled from store shelves, it is imperative that Veterinarians are made aware of the signs/symptoms of phenothrin toxicity and learn to treat it quickly and appropriately.

Hopefully our story has a happy ending. We are praying that Napoleon makes a full recovery and is able to live a long and happy life. Regardless of the result of his fight with this illness, I will certainly beginning a fight of my own to have these products banned.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story. My prayers are with other families struggling with the illness or loss of a pet due to this horrible product.

15 thoughts on “Napoleon poisoned by Hartz Ultra Guard”

  1. Ask your vet for an appetite enhancer- also inquire of what you should feed him considering easy to digest and highest nutrients.

  2. That’s horrible! I’m so sorry to hear of your pet going through this. All the people on here need to get together and have a class action law-suit against Hartz. It’s unbelievable!

  3. I’m sorry and feel really bad reading this. My dad gave my dog the same thing and all the symptoms happened within a couple hours. The same exact as yours.
    Thank you for posting this it was a big help.

  4. While in my case it happened with my cat, I was lucky enough to find the symptoms online less than 2 hours after placing Sargeants Flea Drops on my cat and got the emergency Vet right away and she was treated immediately.

    All these toxins used by Hartz,Sargents, Bansect & others are outsourced where some vats may be stronger than others so when you make claims they want the vat numbers and you have to provide the product carton, the empty bottle or collar or tube etc along with receipts of where you bought it so they can track it down.

    The Sargents representative told me that while they test from the various vats, it is random and sometimes stronger concentrations can slip through which is unfortunate for anyone’s pet that may be ‘allergic’ to the product.
    Allergic is a non-committal term they use to take a stand that their product is good and the animal’s reaction is not their fault.

    They also will give you a third degree and handle you like you are lying to them looking for any word they can use to twist it into claiming you applied the product wrong or violated one of their fine print warnings!!

    While their Customer Service Rep will come off like they want to take care of you and your pet and are very apologetic for the issue, they first think in terms of trying to get you to think it was solely your fault and unfortunate, so to make you want to drop the matter.

    If you can prevail through the Customer Service Rep, they will connect you to a claims department to take a statement and ask you to mail in all your proof~ labels,receipts, empty cartons, vet bill and statement that their product caused teh problem.

    Some vets will give you the bill for treatment but wont give you a letter stating the blame on the company as they dont want to have to be called into court should it get that far.It is more helpful in getting a settlement for Vet costs, IF you get a letter from the Vet naming their product as the reason for the animal’s crisis.

    If they think you have a shot at suing them, they will offer to pay your vet bills and sign releases from indemnification so you cant later sue them. In the fine print there you have to watch out that they dont add in a nondisclosure clause which would legally prevent you from testifying against them, should there ever be a class action suit or congressional investigation of their product[s].

    The ingredients are neurotoxins that can shut down the organs in an animal particularly the kidneys or liver. Outward skin reactions include the lesions, ulcerations, hair loss and digestive inflamations that make it virtually impossible for the animal to eat. Vets have supplemental concentrated nourishments you can buy so that while the animal cant eat, the little nourishment treatments can be smeared on ktheir tongues and absorbed providing vitamins, minerals, and proteins needed to rebuild their strength. We were given a tube that looked like a tootopaste tube with squeezable brown paste to use on a kitten that was unable to eat for weeks following an insect bite with larva implantation that erupted, infecting the kitten’s body so without the concentrated nutrients, she would have died.

    The insideousness of the toxins in the flea products is that they enter the hair shafts and then the sebaceous glands and then spread all over the body very quickly.That is why even if it doesnt seem to help, washing daily with Dawn Dish Detergent, vigorously soaping up the hair shafts and skin, actually do help in removing any residual poison in the fur or reaching the skin. The toxins are supposedly said to be effective for 6-8 weeks, so for that period of time, just to get any nourishment into your pet is vital in keeping them strong enough to ride it out. Some pets succumb quickly to kidney failure. The longer it goes undiagnosed the less likely the survival of the pet or there are higher chances of organ damage as well.

    Simple flea collars can silently poison your pet over time having unnoticeable cumulative effects~!! My cat since she was 6 wks old wore a flea collar. Sghe stayed tiny and thin and had sparce fur. It wasnt until she recovered from her ordeal and I didnt put any more flea collars on her, that she began to gain weight and has now nearly doubled in size over the past year. So for 2 years she had a low continual dose of poison!!! Ir was coupled when I used the flea drops for the first and last time and I will never use then again.

    I went to my State Representatives office and told them about what happened and that laws need to be changed to stop this from continuing. He told me that since it happens in all states, that it was better to go up the ladder and find someone to present it to Congress through the Congressman’s office.

    So, people need to write to their Congressmen and complain about this. If enough pet owners knew to contact their Congressman, the matter may get on the table for a new law with higher standard in testing and a ban on toxic ingredients.

    There are already some obscure companies that have herbal remedies for fleas, made with non-toxic flea produt ingredients. Hartz, Sargeants & the others could use such
    ingredients, but it would cut into their production costs and as long as the law remains the same, little will be done.

    Like I said last year I would like to see all the victims’ owners join together and get some action going perhaps with Animal Planet or some well known figure as an advocate, so these products will be banned and replaced with something non-lethal~

    I assumed the stuff over the counter sold in Walmart, Drug Stores, Dollar Generls etcs., to be safe for my pet but it isnt and we need new legislation to hold the pet companies responsible for their actions. My only concern when purchasing it was to rid my pet of fleas. My only other consideration was how effective the product would be and thought at worst it wouldnt kill all the fleas, as the collar didnt also.It never entered my mind that the stuff could have killed my pet or that 2 drops of anything could do so much damage.

    Some Vets are aware and can recognize the symptoms right away. I am sorry it took so mamy trips to the Vet before you got a tentative evaluation and diagnosis. I hope the delay doesnt cause permanent damage to your pet!!

    Few dogs survive without help.Most die without the owner associating it with the flea product since the effects can be time delayed.

    I hope your dog makes a full recovery~!!

    :) Ave Hurley

  5. My cat almost died from hartz ultraguard and the vet wrote a letter stating their product caused him to be sick, and hartz sent me a check for $8 or whatever the cost of medicine was lol my vet bill was over $400!!! i dont understand how these people are still selling their products? i have read nothing but horror have they never been sued?

  6. I used the Hartz flea & tick spray on the CARPET (not the dog) about five days before she got sick. After a day and half of diarrhea and vomiting, I took my beautiful little sheltie, Katie to the Vet. On 12/21/2010, He did blood work on her and found problems with her kidneys. She was put on IV to flush out her kidneys. On the 22th I sat with her at the vets praying she would be alright. About 10:00 AM on the 23th, the vet called and said Katie just had a seizure and was dying. I rushed to the vet, just to see a limp little dog. Part of me died that day with that precious little girl. The vet said it was a toxin that killed my once lively Katie. When he said that, I KNEW it had to be the Hartz spray. How do I know this?? It had been cold,Katie went outside only to go potty and I was with her, so she did not eat anything outside. I WILL NEVER EVER USE ANYTHING AGAIN THAT DOES NOT COME FROM THE VETS!!!!!

  7. My vet told me yesterday that this product is causing seizures and to throw it out. I have read horror stories already and will get rid of this product. I thought i was keeping my pet safe big mistake do not use this product.

  8. My little Boston Terrier MOOSE was on it for the summer of 2010, he got sick by Christmas, his last bath & app was begining Nov,1. started gettig sick around Christmas. didn’t even want prime rib. We will never know, the Vets don’t even know what he had. He was hospitalized New Years Eve, picked him up next day, still wouldnt eat. They gave him predisone, so he would eat & drink. Finally after trying Tick Meds, Thyroide meds . On March 22, 2011 he was so tired we had to put him to sleep. I still miss him so…, Love Dave B

  9. sergents duel action flea and tick coller killed our baby yorkie it needs to be banned they claimed it was safe offered to pay vet bill then didnt do that

  10. This is bad because my dog has fleas and we got a hartz product. I’m so mad this happened and my poor Maya can get this illness. I hope your dog pulls through and that mine will be okay. :(

  11. In my last report, May 26th, 2011, I would like to say my little best buddy MOOSE, may have gotten a tick bite. Regardless of the Hartzguard, Ticks are tough to keep off.
    Check you’re pet daily for Ticks, LIME is a bad & debilitating disease. Sorry HARTZ,Moose’s Dad.

  12. I cannot for the life of me believe that this stuff is still on the shelves! I am blessed to NOT have used this product on my dogs and you can bet I will let everyone I know that they should NEVER use this stuff — This is a heartbreaker. I’m just curious — it the product made in China? Scary how so many products from China, whether it be for our pets, our children, our homes, etc. are now killing us and our pets … and that we continue to bring in to this country, and sell, these products! NO THANKS!

  13. I have used this product for years without any of the symptoms being displayed by any of the many dogs I have used it on. In fact, I have been happy with the results…ie, Hartz Ultra guard has gotten rid of the mites the dogs had contracted thru contaminated straw. I would not use it on pups, just because they’re PUPS. I’m sorry to hear about your dog. I too love dogs, but this doesn’t sound like a reaction to the medication to me. It sounds more like as reaction to a parvo vaccine. just a thought….

  14. Oh my goodness, now I’m scared.

    Here’s the story: These past few weeks, my only dog, who is 3-years-old, has been infested with ticks. I tried removing them manually first, used a puller, used a tick brush, etc. and dropped every single one of them in a bowl of hot water. But I could never get ALL of them because some of them were tiny (babies)…so a few days later, he’s infested with giant ticks again.

    Then I found a Tick and Flea Dog Shampoo called “Bearing Formula 7.” It’s a Thai product, if the writing on the back is any indication. I couldn’t find the “go-to” tick and flea shampoo that most US dog owners recommend. It starts with a ‘P’ (I think); now I don’t remember the name anymore because it’s been a while since the last time I tried hunting for it. I’m in the Philippines, by the way. Anyway, so the “Bearing Formula 7” shampoo worked a bit. It got rid of his ticks, but after a month’s usage, the ticks came back, even when I used the “Bearing” shampoo.

    Today I found huge ticks on my dog. When I pulled them out (carefully), the bite area bled. Now he has a few streaks of blood on his brown coat. I panicked so I went to buy another brand of tick and flea shampoo, and I saw this “Hartz Ultraguard” you’re talking about. I haven’t used it yet, but now I’m scared. Weird, though, because I went to Amazon AFTER I saw this post, hoping to find more confirmation that this product is, indeed, harmful for dogs…but what I found was mostly glaring reviews. It even has a 4/5-star rating on Amazon, which says a lot, considering how picky most of us are. The only “negative” review on the first page is the fact that, apparently, one of the buyers got a runny product. Mine’s actually runny, too, by the way. Definitely not the typical shampoo consistency. With that said, I’m not sure if it being “runny” really matters (of course, I haven’t tried it on my dog yet because, like I said, your review scared me)…it’s probably just how it’s supposed to be. As for how effective it is, we’ll see after I try it (but only after my worry passes).

    However, to Catherine (above me), I’m glad to hear that you had no problems with the product. I really hope I won’t have any problem with it as well, as I’m feeling really sorry for my dog now. He’s still energetic as always, still has a great appetite, he really has no other problems except for the tick infestations…and now some of his fur is falling off due to the tick bites.

    P.S. At Krissy, I’m sorry to hear about your cat…but the bottle says on the back to “not apply this product to cats or kittens.” But then again, you posted your comment back in 2011, and I’m posting mine in Nov 2012…so maybe the warning is new?

    To the author of the review, how’s your dog doing now? I wish this was a personal blog so I can read the follow-up. I hope he’s doing fine now.

  15. An update for my post on Nov 21, 2012:

    I used the Hartz Ultra Guard shampoo on my dog the same night I posted my concern. He had a lot of ticks (some were pregnant) and fleas, so I had to use quite a bit of it. First I soaked him in soapy water (with the Harts product) in a basin; kept him that way for 5 minutes, flipped him to his other side for another 5 minutes. When I took him out the basin, A LOT of the ticks apparently fell off him…I was impressed, actually. Then I applied the shampoo directly on him, lathered him up, let it stay for 5 minutes, washed him off. A few more ticks fell off him, then when he shook, a couple more fell.

    Now, 2 days later, my dog is still fine. He scratches way less. There are still some ticks on him, which I had to pick off manually with tweezers (and drown them in hot water). After a week, I plan to repeat the process (as the directions recommend). My dog hasn’t vomited, hasn’t had diarrhea, no allergic reactions whatsoever. He’s still his usual self. I hope it stays that way, because this review really worried me. But so far, he’s fine. Now I really don’t understand why this product line is getting such a bad rap. I have only tried the Ultra Guard shampoo, for the record. Can’t judge their other products…but I do see a ton of negative, negative reviews on the Hartz product-line, which is really worrying.

    Anyway, I’m sorry to those who lost their pets after using the Hartz products. I wish there was a clearer reason why this is happening to some, and not to others (like myself and Catherine).

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