I noticed a flea on my dog Huckle yesterday, and thought I was doing the right thing by applying flea and tick drops. I bought the drops at Rite Aid, which only had Hartz Ultraguard on the shelf.
about 7-8 hours after applying the drops, I noticed that Huckle was acting really strange. He was restless, anxious, pacing… very unusual behavior for him, especially since this was 11 PM, when he’s normally sleeping soundly on the couch.
I kept a close eye on him, and within an hour he had gotten a lot worse. He drank an entire bowl of water in one sitting; he was frantically running around the room; biting at us; twitching; shaking; I could see his heart pounding through his chest…
We frantically got on the phone to find an open emergency clinic, and raced him to the vet. Within two minutes of taking him into the exam room, the vet’s assistant came out and asked when we had applied flea drops and which brand we used. Apparently, they’ve seen this happen a lot.
After bathing him in a degreaser, the doctor came out and told us that this is indeed a common occurance. I couldn’t believe it. How can a TOXIC product be LEGAL??? He explained that the chemical used in Hartz (and other non-Frontline products) is a pesticide that essentially has the same effect on mammals as it does on insects. It absorbs into their bloodstream and affects the central nervous system. But NOWHERE on the box does it say anything about this. The only warning is about “minor skin irritation”.
The vet said to consider ourselves lucky since we caught it in time before too much had been absorbed into the bloodstream. He told us that many of the pets he’s treated for this are brought in with 106 degree fevers, grand mal seizures, etc.
We now have to treat our dog with muscle relaxers for the next several weeks (to calm his residual convulsions and twitches). He seems much better, but is still having periodic panic attacks and muscle spasms.
It breaks my heart to think that a company would knowingly harm our pets under the misleading guise of “pet care”. How dare they hurt and kill our loved ones to make a buck. Furthermore, if so many people (including veterinarians!) know about this, how can it continue???