Hartz Ultraguard Pro for Cats, is killing my daughter’s “Snug”


Snug is my teen daughter’s ‘love’..her cat. She’s had him since he was a wee baby, not expecting to live when we pulled him from a local shelter with pneumonia. He survived with her constant love, attention and cuddling. Since then, he has always been her cat. He is now five years old.

Last night, July21,2010 around 8pm, my daughter noticed a few fleas on him. So I took out the Hartz UltroGuard Pro and applied it between his shoulder blades. Normally, we use Front Line for Cats, but money had been tight so I took on this, thinking it would be less expensive.

As soon as we applied it, his skin started twitching between the shoulder blades. I thought it was just because it was cold and wet and reassured her it was fine. He hid under her desk and snubbed her the rest of the night. She went to spend the night with her friend and Snug remained in her room, refusing to come out from under the desk. We all thought he was just not happy to have something cold and wet on him.

This is the account of what happened the next morning July22, 2010, with her own words.

“I got back from my friend’s house at 10am and I walked to the corner of my room where I began to take off my shoes. I saw Snug half way underneath the standing Mirror in my bedroom. So I poked him with my toe and giggled “Get up, lazy.” and he just lifted his head up at me and then put his head back down. So I poked him again and said “C’mon.”. After that I thought he was just tired so I was going to pick him up and put him on my bed. So I picked him up and his legs were dangling and half of his side was wet like he peed himself. His head slumped down and couldn’t lift it.

So freaking out about what was going on, I put him down on the floor and ran out of my room in my panic voice and screamed “Mom, somethings wrong with Snug!”

By the time I made it into my daughter’s room, she managed to get him off the floor and put him on the bed. I could see right away he was in allot of trouble. He had urine all down his side and could barely lift his head. His pupils were huge and breathing very shallow. I ran to the phone, called the Vet who said they could not see him for another hour and a half. I went back to look at him and his eyes were fixed. I tried to see if he would blink but even when I touched his eye there was no flinching or reaction. He breathing became more shallow . We quickly wasted no more time and gathered him up in a towel, ran for the Car and drove him to the Vet. We knew we could not wait any longer.

They saw him right away, and diagnosed him with toxicity from the Hartz product! He spent the day in the hospital medicated and bathed to get any of the remainder of the stuff off.

He’s home tonight, but very very very sick. There isn’t much more they said they could do unless he worsens in breathing. His pupils are still large and he doesn’t blink at all. He just stared at the wall.

I pray he survives this and will be better soon. How can anyone create such a product?? It’s devastating to see him hurting this way and the uncertainty if he’ll even live to see tomorrow!

13 thoughts on “Hartz Ultraguard Pro for Cats, is killing my daughter’s “Snug””

  1. Did Snug pull through? My cat was only lethargy and developed an oozy rash around his neck but I still feel like a ‘bad mother’for not seeing it for a couple of days; I thought he had a stroke. Something needs to be done!

  2. Snug is doing way better now that he was when my mom first posted the story. It seems that the flea treatment has alterd his personality some, though.
    He used to be more independent, and now he acts like a kitten. It’s like the whole accident hit a reset button, and all of a sudden he think’s he’s a baby again. And his sight seems to be a little screwed up too. It’s like, one moment he can see perfectly fine, and then the next he’s as blind as a bat.

    He may be a little sick right now, and permanent or not, I still love my Snug. I just hope he feels better soon.

  3. Oh my gosh, I just read your story, that is so horrible! Poor snug. I’m glad he’s feeling a bit better now but I hope he has a full recovery soon. I can’t believe we consumers buy the products with such a popular household name thinking “Of course it’s safe! They wouldn’t sell it if it wasn’t safe!” I’m glad I came on here before applying anything to my Lyla…I was going to use the shampoo from Hartz that my mom had under her bathroom sink but after reading your heart breaking story…I’ll never use a Hartz product, and this stuff I found at my moms, 1/2 full, is going in the garbage! Good luck to you and your baby, and thank you for posting your story. Who knows what I would have unintentionally put my cat through, thanks to Hartz, had I not read this.

  4. I have three cats, two of which go outside on a regular basis (Obi and Zim), so I try to keep up on their flea treatments. After reading your story about Snug, I thought I would share my experience as well.
    Just recently, I’ve been hearing about how certain flea/tick medication can cause seizures! At first, I thought that maybe these products had been removed from the shelves and that this was a problem among the cheaper flea and tick meds. I never thought that any well respected corporation would continue the sale of such toxic substances; labeled warnings might be nice, a list of possible side effects, etc…
    Anyway, last time I bought flea medication I ended up going with the Hartz UltraGuard Pro, the most expensive product Wal-Mart had to offer. I applied the Hartz to Obi and Zim, brothers about 6/7yrs old. A couple hours passed and I began to notice Zim “tweaking out” over something in the corner of the room, initially I thought he was eating something that he was starting to regret. Once a couple minutes of watching him tweak had passed, I thought I should see what’s causing the problem. After trying to get close to him to further inspect his behavior I found that he was foaming around his mouth! It looked like he either couldn’t control the saliva, or he was just trying to get whatever was in his body OUT. I felt horrible there wasn’t much I could do. Every time I got close to him, he would run off and hide, and once he was in his hiding spot, I couldn’t get him to get out of it. I don’t have the money to take these cats to a vet for emergencies such as this, so I really wasn’t sure what to do. After a few more hours it appeared as if his symptoms were subsiding. This was the second time that I noticed such a bad reaction to the flea medication. The first time it happened, it happened to Obi (a couple months prior to Zim’s little episode), and I didn’t even correlate the incident to the flea medication until later when Zim started reacting badly.
    Obi went outside straight after I gave the stuff to him. Everything seemed normal starting off, but then after some time passed I noticed he was at the window wanting to come back inside. Once he back inside I could tell almost immediately that something was “off” about him. However, I just shrugged it off and continued doing my own thing. The next time he was in the room it looked like he got into something wet, or that he was sneezing and getting snot all over his face. I wasn’t sure, so I took a moment to clean off his face. Upon this initial examination the slime on his face just appeared unusual, I was unsure of where the slime had originated from. It wasn’t long after that that I saw what was producing that slime. He was foaming at the mouth, and had uncontrollable drooling. My first reaction was “OMG rabies!” Since this was the first time Obi ever did that I immediately went to Google for the answer. Just about every site that I came across kept saying that it was most likely some toxin causing the loss in control and that they would need medical attention ASAP. I’m not about to file for bankruptcy because of my feline friends, so I figured that I would just wait it out and if it did progress and get any worse I would contact the vet and find out if there was anything I could do (on a budget). At the time I didn’t think to put two and two together, I just assumed he got into some “dirty” water while exploring the world. Now I know that it was really the flea medication that I GAVE HIM, not only did Obi suffer but so did Zim just a few months later! I believe that both Obi and Zim suffered minor seizures for the first 24hours after application of the treatment.
    Seizures, depending on the intensity can cause irreversible damage (at least, that’s what happens to some epileptic human, cats aren’t going to seize much differently). I noticed that both Obi and Zim did not act like themselves during that time. They seemed to be frightened and very withdrawn. They didn’t even want to go outside, which is very unusual, especially for Obi (Obi spends ~75% of his time outside). For the remainder of the day, they stayed inside and slept mostly. I noticed a couple dried puddles of drool next to Obi while he was sleeping. Zim basically got it everywhere; I couldn’t get him to stop freaking out whenever I came near. Zim is a skittish cat as is, but if anything he trusts me, and usually I can’t get him to leave me alone, so that made me think something slightly more serious just went down.
    Chill on the other hand seems to handle the medication a little better, I haven’t noticed her reacting in such a negative way, however, I am not about to risk her health after seeing what happened to Obi and Zim. Unfortunately, she seems to be the one cat that gets fleas and keeps them, the other two guys don’t actually get fleas to the extent Chill gets. Which makes little to no sense to me, because she is the only one of the three, that doesn’t go outside, so when she has fleas I have found that the drops seem to be the best way to exterminate such an infestation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried just about everything and the drops are the only thing I seem to get results with (flea death count++). I’ve used the collars, I’ve fumigated my apartment with those flea bombs (also courtesy Wal-Mart), sprayed my carpets with flea killing spray, I got the powder and tried using that (slight mess, but what do you expect is going to happen when you throw powder all over the apartment) and I’ve bathed ALL THREE (separately, impossible to do all three simultaneously, at least without help) which always ends up being an unpleasant experience for both parties involved. Since Chill is smaller and more docile (when I say docile, I mean, she’s quiet but totally freaked out, does not like being so wet!), washing her isn’t as bad as washing the older two, but she DOES NOT LIKE the bath and I’ve been cut to hell and back because of her claws. I’m tired of explaining why my arms are so torn up, so I’m sticking with the drops (for future infestations), but next time, I’m hunting for FrontLine, I’m not about to subjugate my poor cats to any more toxic crap. Thanks for the heads up. I definitely don’t need to repeat my mistake a third time.
    Bottom line: THIS PRODUCT IS NOT SAFE FOR YOUR PETS!!! It even has multiple warnings regarding the toxicity of the product you’re about to use. IT’S SO DANGEROUS THAT I CAN’T JUST THROW IT THE FUCK AWAY OR DUMP IT DOWN THE DRAIN, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD I PUT IT ON MY PET?! Something needs to be done. The only reason it’s still for sale is because people still buy it! And when you have two brands to choose from, and they’re both random companies you’ve never heard of, then you shouldn’t be shopping at that location (at least for pet meds). I have a full tube of this Hartz left, I don’t want to use it on Chill, but I can’t just simply throw it away, I can’t dump it down an “indoor or outdoor drain….” You really expect me to find out who can deal with this little bottle?! To be honest, I’ll probably just throw it in a drawer somewhere and forget it exists. But, what about the consumer who ends up with the same issue I have, but instead of disposing of it correctly, they just throw it in the trash. So when the garbage truck drops of its load in some landfill after leaving the residence’s home in which there was a hypothetical improper disposal of said tube(s). Who’s going to prevent that bottle from leaking as the garbage truck moves from point A to B? How long are the tubes just going to sit there before the tube itself ruptures and leaks hazardous waste material all over some piece of partially consumed food? Then what if something takes the said food from that landfill and introduces other animals (…people…) to the toxin?? Is the FDA or EPA going to even notice that a few animals (homeless dudes) die? I doubt it, and I doubt they will even take the time to regulate these pet medications in order to prevent this kind of schmuck from happening again.
    What if a small child were to get into that stuff? I mean, sure you have a cat and you put it on the cat, but then the kid goes and starts fucking licking the cat for whatever reason, if that child has a seizure are you going to immediately think, “oh, that might be the god damn flea medication we put on the damn cat… we should take the kid to hospital for toxicity treatment!”. Yeah, no, that won’t be your first reaction, and neither will it be the doctors’. Even if they recognize it as symptoms synonymous with a poison… well what kind of poison? The doctors will need to know the exact chemical ingested in order to save the kid, which might end up taking even more time, time that the child in question does not have. Fuck, let’s just say for arguments sake that the child is comatose after seizing up, something that could potentially cause brain damage, especially in a young person. I realize that no one here, including me has had to deal with such a terrible scenario. I’m just saying, that if I were to be the CEO of said companies (Hartz, Wal-Mart), these would be things that scream lawsuit to me. I swear that should something like this ever happen to me, there would be no telling the extent of my fury.
    I just hope that someone (Hartz O.o) realizes that the distribution of these products seem to be far more hazardous than most household cleaners. I’m more worried that someone is going to pet the cat and end up in the hospital than I am when it comes to Bleach and Ammonia… Yes I would rather deal with chloramine vapors than a trip to the vet; mainly because science is more fun than econ.
    When I read your story about Snug it sounded like that Hartz shit had killed him. I’m so glad to hear that he seems to be doing better however the change in personality concerns me. That sounds like brain damage of some kind. Why are these products even available?! Isn’t there some sort of regulation before a product is allowed to go to the consumer?! I would rather that they just get chewed on by a few fleas than put them through such an ordeal. I hope I’m wrong, I know I wish I were.
    Has Snug improved, such as his personality and quirks? Have you noticed any further deterioration of health? Was that the first time you used Hartz v. FrontLine? Any other products that you’ve used in the past that seemed to work just fine, and not cause horrible seizures?
    @Wal-Mart!! RESTOCK, where’s all the FrontLine?!

  5. I agree with you KittyDefender! I think that MAYBE this is how all us angry pet owners may get someone to take some action. Maybe we need to make this point BEFORE this happens to us or worse , one of our kids! I mean if this stuff is THAT toxic (and yes , I have had pets with bad reactions to 2 differant “safe” products). I mean if goverment agencies are unable or unwilling to protect out pets (who ARE family to most of us) , they should certainly stop this BEFORE before a child gets poisoned , or else they should be held liable as well! Maybe we all need to get together and write our Syate and local representatives (stressing NOT only are our pets at risk , but our’s as well as THEIR children ARE at risk). I mean what if a neighbor puts this on their pet and then their child pets the animal and has a reaction? HOW will they POSSIBLY put 2+2 together in time to possibly save a childs life, or at least from any irreversable brain damage? MAYBE only then something will FINALLY happen? God forbid, if my child ever got sick from one of these products, there would be no end to my fury. If my child ever had a siezure and suffered brain damage from a “safe” product, I would NEVER let up until something was done. As it is I have used Ultra Guard on 1 cat (very bad reaction , but luckily pulled through with a lot of love) and I also used Sargeant’s “all natural” spray with very bad reactions on the 1st cat and a 2nd one. Doesn’t anyone with any power or authority realize this stuff can inadvertantly end up in our childrens mouths, by them petting the animal and then eating or putting their hands in their mouths??? Don’t any Attorneys or elected Government Officials (elected or appointed)
    out there have children? Aren’t they the least bit concerned that they or one of their friends or family may be affected by these products? Aren’t any of you worried about the effect this may have on the enviroment? I still have some of this crap, and have not had the time to research how to properly dispose of it. I know I do NOT want to just put it in the garbage, and put by the curb, to end up who knows where? What’s WRONG with this picture? I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but how could this have been going on for over 10 years without someone doing something ? HMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm????????????

  6. Where to begin? I have 4 indoor cats , with 3 out of 4 having band reactions and/or very serious reactions to various Hartz/Sargeants prouducts even the all natural stuff at one time or another. One took a $700 vet bill , as he had many of the typical symptoms desribed here. He didn’t look well at all , nor was the vets prognosis good , being given “a chance” to try to save him or put him down and “end his suffering”. Luckily I opted for treatment (which I am still paying for months later) and his strong will to live and lots of prayer pulled him through. It took him over a month to return to normal , and even longer to begin to trust me again (who could blame him) ? Luckily (and I pray) there is no long term lasting effects , or shortened life span. I’ve also have/had 3 outdoor cats I believe have been affected by these products. And I am just BEGINNING to realize I may have poisoned 2 of them already (dead) and another has been having serious breathing problems (constantly breathing heavily , can’t catch it’s breath some time) who may need to be put down. One (mother , 2 years old) became ill while I was away from home. Friend called and said cat looked very tired , and was very sluggish. I did not have the money or wiggle room on credit cards at the time , so I just hoped for the best. Came home next morning and found cat dead under truck. 2nd cat started having same symptoms about a year later. This time I had some money available , so we took him to vet. Well after bloodwork done , vet said cat has kidney failure , and they tried to flush him out hoping for improvement. Improved a little next day , then went in downward spiral. Never made it home from vet , and had to be put down. That was $650 I really couldn’t afford , yet did not want to see him suffer. Now here’s something that just dawned on me. These 2 cats , both 2 years old , died with same symptoms. 2nd cat with confirmed kidney failure. Now I have a 3rd who’s been breathing very heavily for some time , and I have not had the money to take him to the vet yet. I believe he will need to be put down as well , soon. What did these 3 have in common ? They all had ticks attached to them. One had 3 on eyelids and elsewhere on face (and who knows where else) AND I used both Hartz and Sargeants spot on products on all of them. Did they get rid of the ticks? Absolutely. Many gone the next day , rest by day 2. All 3 of these cats are/were 2 years old. I am just begining to realize that although , I saw no immediate reaction, but they are outdoor cats , so I can’t monitor them as well. But I believe all 3 suffered delayed effects of these products. It’s only dawning on me now I poisoned 2 of them , possibly a 3rd and amy have done some long term lasting damage to the indoor cats as well. I do know that the 1 indoor cat that took a $700 vet bill to save , did not act right for over a month. Luckily , he seems to be back to normal. But I am concerned I may have done some* long term damage that may shorten their lives. I am so disgusted with myself for not tying all this together sooner. God , kitties , PLEASE forgive me! Now here’s a real good question. We all know how toxic this stuff is. And just because your animal did not show SIGNS of poisoning , does that mean they were/are uneffected ? Think about that folks , who are still saying these products are OK……… Did your pet tell you they like how Hartz and Sargeant’s makes them feel ? I knew what these products did to my indoor cats. But , in all honesty , I didn’t know (and have long suspected) that maybe even the Frontline or Advantage makes our pets feel ill. One cat (the most sensitive one) tries to run away even when I apply the Frontline. So maybe that’s making him ill as well , but with less symptoms? Or he just relates it to 2 other bad experiences with Hartz and Sargeant’s. I have now switched to Advantage and wonder about that product as well. Does anyone know for sure these products are safe. Maybe I need to research them as well. No Hartz , and Sargeant’s , I don’t have it in for just you , I just want us all to stop poisoning our pets and possibly* affecting our children and the enviroment. Now say what you may about making money at the animals expense , but do you really want to possibly* endanger our children as well?? Now I will certainly attest to the fact that Frontline or Advantage seem to be safer products. But , they are still toxins and maybe our pets still feel some ill effects ? Lastly , 2 issues…. What if child pets neighbors animal , and then ingests this stuff and gets VERY sick. WHO will tie the two together. Probably NO ONE…. We need to get these off the shelfs , not just for our pets sakes , but OUR KIDS , sakes! Lastly , WHY ON EARTH does the ASPCA allow this suffering to go on? Maybe we should all send them a note in our donation envelopes (instead of money) , DEMANDING they do something. If they TRULY want to protect animals , why didn’t they do something about this? They talk of animals suffering “needlessly”. Why do they allow this , worse yet to make us feel terible for doing this to our pets. Or maybe show some videos/pictures of the cruelty our beloved pets have been through? God forbid any of our children have been affected by these deadly toxins. I still have some of this crap. Anyone know where to properly dispose of it? Where’s Al Gore when you need him? It’s mind boggling to me that Government agencies allow us to continue to poison our pets. And remember , just because your animal has shown no ill affects , do you truly know they are unaffected (long term)? You may not have killed them , but maybe they do feel ill.

  7. This is an update on Snug. Yes, he’s still alive but still has medical issues. These are the side affects of what has happened to him with Hartz.

    1. He will go ‘blind’ when stressed. It’s unexplainable. All we know is that when something scares him or upsets him too much he looses his ability to see anything and will run into walls or funirture. His pupils dialate. He did this very often at first but now it’s less then a couple times a year.

    2. His back legs are stiff. He walks as if he’s on silts and his knees barely bend. His spine is constantly arched. from between the shoulder blades

    3.Back pain/sensitivity. It’s not always but it is often enough where he does not like his back stroked at all. He will hill or twitch

    4. His personality has defiantly changed. Before this he was a fairly affectionate (but not demanding) cat. He loved spending time on a warm lap and snuggling. Now, he will be sweet and tender one moment, and for no reason we can find, he hisses and will strike with his claws. It’s unpredictable.

    There seems to be quite a bit of neurological and physical damage done to him by this horrible product.
    It’s a lifelong challenge for him and for us to keep him comfortable and safe.

  8. I just bought the Hartz ultraguard pro because the Advantage was a little too pricey for me right now. I applied it then decided to get online and look at the reviews (thinking they would be about how it did or didn’t work). After seeing all these horrible reviews about how it hurt the cats, I freaked out, grabbed my cats and washed their entire neck and applied a bunch of mild dawn to the area, then washed it off.

    I have not seen any side effects or them acting funny, other then a little tired and irritated from having a wet substance on their neck, but I hope this prevents this from happening to my cats. It was only about an hour or two that it was on.. hopefully not too much got absorbed.

    Does anyone know if I get the advantage, am I able to apply it, or do I have to wait a month? They have fleas bad and I’ve been trying to get rid of them for about a month or two now with no success. Thanks!

    1. Hi I really hope you see this. I’m curious if you kitty was ok?!?! The same thing just happened to me 🙁
      And I am currently freaking out!! I washed him about 20 to 40 minutes after it being on him. He did have skin irritations were I had applied it but after carefully watching him 5hrs after he just groomed the ( shower away) then slept

  9. I’m sorry to hear snugs story. I need help. My 18 year old cat Luna has been acting very strange lately. We used Hartz Ultra Guard Pro flea treatment on her, and she has not been the same since. She will not leave our bathroom, she hardly eats, and her meowing has become very excessive. She seems lethargic, but not irritable. She looks so sad, but reading this makes me afraid that whatever she is going through will get worse. I know it sounds bad, but I’m young and trying to pay for school, I don’t have the money to be paying my vet hundreds of dollars. I’m very worried about my baby girl, does anyone have any tips?

  10. I wish I would’ve read threads like this one before I found this medicine. There was a stray cat running around our neighborhood. He was clearly someone’s pet before, since he was very sweet. However, he wasin bad condition. Fleas, worms, mites, the whole shebang. I took him in, started feeding him and deworming. He was so gentle and kind. After talking with 2 different vets to see if I could give him this medicine in his condition, I got the go ahead and gave it a try. I used half of the tube because he was underweight and I didn’t want it to make him sick, but it did. He had that weird skin jump thing too, got a fever and was sleeping a lot. It also made him stop eating which was already bad news vecause he was underweight. we were worried. I Made a vet appointment for the morning. He got out and hid outside and he died in the night. Had I done the research, I wouldn’t have killed him. He wouldn’t have died. He didn’t deserve that, and I was just trying to help him.

  11. Hartz Ultra Guard Pro very tocsic product i used twiced on my cat and he was sleeping and stressed all day lucky he didn’t die
    The product must immeditely be moved off the stores shelf.

  12. Hartz Ultra Guard Pro very tocsic product i used twiced on my cat and he was sleeping and stressed all day lucky he didn’t die
    The product must immeditely be moved off all the stores shelfs.

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