I just got back from the veterinarian’s office after taking our 14 week old Lhasa Apso to our vets after he stopped breathing and passed away in my son’s arms. Three days ago, I noticed our puppy scratching as if it migh have fleas or bugs. I saw a tick trying to get into it’s fur the day before. So, while at Winn Dixie grocery store, I picked up a package of Hartz UltraGuard Flea and Tick Drops for ‘dogs and puppies’ weighing 4-15 pounds. The back of the package does state to use only on dogs over 12 weeks of age. So, I figured I was safe since our puppy weighed over 4 pounds and was over 12 weeks old. We applied the drops as per the package instruction from the tail to the neck. Over the next two days, our puppy became lethargic and vomited twice. We thought it was because we had taken him on two long walks…and we mistakenly took his lethargy for being tired rather than realizing he was being poisoned by the Hartz Ultra Guard. We also thought he had vomited because he was so exhausted from the heat and came back to the house and ate a belly full of food (and we explained this away to perhaps some heat exhaustion followed by eating). Oh, you cannot imagine the feelings of guilt that we are going through for not recognizing these symptoms as something else that should have required immediate veterinary attention. When I came home to my sobbing wife, she had already called me to tell me that the vet had called and stated that the dog may beve died from toxins either from a flea and tick application or from pesticides in ours or neighbors yards that he may have come in contact with during the walk. My wife has taken this very badly and is emotionally distressed at having lost her ‘baby’. I feel like such an idiot for not having done more to check out these flea and tick meds before placing them on our puppy. I don’t know how to come to terms with this, and it makes me sick to my stomach that a company like Hartz can continue to be allowed to market this product when hundreds of cases (if not thousands) have resulted in the injury or death of a beloved pet. Chico was our little guy’s name. I towered over him at 6 ft. 1 in. but he followed me with his bouncy walk through the house (I work at home) throughout the day. He slept by my feet under my desk as we bonded during the past two weeks. He growled and barked at anything and anyone that seemed to be a threat. He loved his older brother, Trooper and Jack, both Aussie Shepherds and they loved him too (Trooper more than Jack as Jack did not like the little guy in his face wanting to play all of the time). The joy that Chico brought our family has been taken away because our society puts more value on profits than on the cruel effects that Hartz markets and the feelings of the families of the pets that meet their demise because of this lack of social responsibility.
We are left with empty hearts and contempt for Hartz. Autopsies and lawsuits could help send a message but we feel hopeless since this has gone on for so many years without any intervention by the government authorities who are supposed to monitor and restrict such posion from being marketed and sold. So, we will place our heads on our pillows tonight with a great deal of angst and remorse remembering our precious Chico whom we will grieve for some time. He deserved to have a chance in this world. Hartz doesn’t deserve to profit off the murder of our pets!