Hoping for a full recovery

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.

5 Replies to “Hoping for a full recovery”

  1. How is your OTHER cat? I am s glad that Milo survived. Many cats, even LARGE dogs have died from Hartz and Sergeants and other Over The Counter flea preps – OR — been seriously damaged neurologically. I have known about Hartz’s deadly ways since 1994, and it had been going on WAY before I found out about it — Sadly many people are not aware of this deadly menace. My own cat almost died too– I put an OTC flea prep n her and she immediately started foaming at the mouth. I called the emergency vet and was told to put her under a warm shower IMMEDIATELY, and if the problem persisted to bring her in at once. Luckily the shower worked. NOW I use Frontline for Cats on all 3 of my cats — even then I watch them to make sure they do not have a reaction. It is sad that we have to approach the flea problem chemically but that appears to be the only way to eradicate them or at least keep them at bay. (And after having labored for 2 months to rid one room and one cat of fleas, I was more than grateful for Frontline and Capstar and Diatomaeceous earth!!) They say that ONE of the culprits in these deadly OTC flea preps is Permethrin (sp?), a derivative of Pyrethrins, which are also not too kind to pets. HOW I WISH HARTZ WOULD DROP THEIR LINE OF FLEA PRODUCTS!! and stick to birdseed. If you look thru the previous posts you may find some negative comments about other Hartz Products as well. In the long run, it is cheaper to pay $30-50 for a SAFER alternative (like Frontline for Cats) than it is to ay $2000.00 or more to the vets to try to undo the sometimes terrible damage Hartz and Sergeants and other OTC flea preps have caused to cats and dogs. Wishing you and your kitties well, and PLEASE pass the message on about these deadly flea preps.

  2. I know what it feels like to go thru this. The only flea preventative my vet is Advantage and Advantage plus. I only have to use them twice not every month. I also live in the country and have never had a flea problem since giving them the medication (I use the small tubes of preventative flea stopper. I personally have never seen a tic but one of the Advantages (and I’m sure one of the other ones recommended by a vet) also works against them.

  3. I can happily report that Milo and his sister had no problem with their Frontline treatments. Milo did go in for a follow-up visit to the vet today, and they said he’s quite healthy, besides the obvious the neurological issue that is causing him to crane his neck. That could take weeks or months to improve, and it may never fully go away.

    The vet did explain Hartz and Sargents products in a good way, which I wanted to share. She said they’re an unfortunate relic, the only thing that was available 30 years ago. Then, you either lived with the risk of using it, or you lived with the fleas and ticks. So they’ve sort of been grandfathered into the social conciousness. And no one thinks of the risks (until tragedy strikes) anymore. Hmmm…perhaps there’s a wealthy philanthropist out there who wants to fund an educational campaign?

  4. DO NOT use Advantiks (not sure of the spelling) on your dogs IF YOU HAVE CATS that cuddle or rub up on them. I found out that Advantage is good for dogs and cats….BUT the Advantiks the one that kills fleas and ticks on dogs can kill or make your cat I’ll if they rub up on the dog that has it on them.

    If you have no cats then you will have no worries. But no matter what DO NOT use any product that HARTZ sells. It’s from China, and my issue happened in 1993 and I have been advocating to NOT use and try to get stores in USA to stop selling it. The HARTZ company has been making the poison stronger to kill fleas. The fleas have become Immuned to the original product. So in order for the fleas to die they have made it stronger to kill fleas, but it is also killing our pets.
    Try to stop eBay from allowing innocent sellers to list this poison online too. I have contacted some sellers and given them this website where they have pulled the product from their listings….but eBay still allows people to list the HARTZ flea products.

    Advocate for your pet. Ask your local store manager to stop ordering it too. They probably won’t hear you, but at least you tried.

  5. I haven’t used a Hartz product in many years. I am so afraid that my cats will have an adverse reaction to them. I have had older cats for so many years. I now have younger cats, but I still don’t want to take the chance. I only use Revolution or Advantage. It is a bit expensive, but it works so well. None of my cats have ever had a reaction to either of them. I also rely on melaleuca oil. It is an all-natural oil that is good for their skin and is non-toxic. It works well to keep the fleas off of them and keep their skin soothed.

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