Earlier in the week I noticed my two five-month old cats had picked up some massive fleas. After a couple of days of waiting to see if their usual herbal treatments would fight off the flea onslaught, and realizing that they wouldn’t, I stopped at the local grocery store for some flea collars. Hartz Ultra Guard for Cats and Kittens. I’ve used them on other pets over the years with no ill effects, so I blithely brought them home that evening and put them around my kittens’ necks at about 8:30. We all went to bed as normal. Just before 5AM, I was woken by one of the cats making a strange, short yowling sound, three or four times in a row. Then I heard a “flump.” I jumped up out of bed to find my little male kitten, Milo, convulsing on the floor. My mind raced and the only thing I could think was that I had recently put flea collars on them. So I immediately removed the collar, made sure he was no longer seizing, and called my vet. I was redirected to an emergency vet, who told me as long as he was no longer seizing, to wait and see my normal vet. So I kept an eye on my little guy until 8AM, looking up whatever information I could on cat seizures in the meantime. I wish I had searched for information on the flea collar instead, as I would have been much more informed when we did get to see the vet. However, they bathed him, put him on an IV drip and gave him medication to combat the poison, but overall didn’t seem terribly concerned. As the vet tech said, he was lucky – he was alive. She had seen many pets die from flea collars, which shocked me. Milo stayed overnight, and in the morning I was told he was doing well and could go home. He definitely was better – no more twitching or wobbling eyes. But he was still off-kilter. It’s now been two days since he came home, and he seems perfectly healthy except for the fact that he’s holding his head at an angle, and his balance is a little off. After reading many, many accounts of poisoning and seizures, we’re hopeful that he will, in time, fully recover. I do have to say that his sister had no ill-effects from her collar, which of course we removed. The vet has advised us to wait a few more days, and then start them both on Frontline, as we live in a rural, heavily forested area rife with both fleas and ticks. I am, of course, rather anxious about using yet another chemical, but the herbal treatments I had been using worked wonderfully at repelling ticks, but didn’t stand up to the monster fleas carried by the local wildlife.
I understand that, as with people, some pets may be more sensitive to the active ingredients in any flea treatment or medication. I have heard of animals having similar reactions to Frontline, and even some herbal treatments. But as many people on this site have said, it’s all about awareness. We don’t think of these treatments as dangerous until something like this happens to us or someone close to us. And of course the companies like Hartz spend a great deal of money and time washing over any possible side-effects. So we trot into our local grocery or big box store and figure we’re picking up an inexpensive, fairly innocuous quick fix. But with every story told here, that’s one more resource for a frightened pet-owner dealing with a sick pet. We might not be able to get the products pulled from the shelves, but we can share, educate, and hopefully reduce the demand to the point of economic impracticality.
I would be interested to hear if anyone has had a similar experience, and has used Frontline afterwards. Or if anyone can share how their cat recovered from a similar reaction.