Hartz Advanced Flea Drops Almost Killed My Cat

June 30, 2003

Consumer Relations Department
The Hartz Mountain Corporation
400 Plaza Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07094

To Whom It May Concern:

On Tuesday June 24th, 2003 I purchased Hartz Advanced Care Brand Once-A-Month Flea & Tick Drops from a local Target store in my area. I have two cats at home, both 12 years of age, whom I have had since they were old enough to be separated from their mother. I applied the drops to both of my cats that evening. Two days later, on Thursday evening, June 26th, 2003, one of my cats, Gwenevere had a seizure. At the time I didn?t realize it was a seizure she was having ? I just thought for some reason she urinated on my bed (which is extremely out of character for her) as well as on herself. I now realize, in retrospect, that it is uncharacteristic for cats to urinate on themselves at all.

The following day, Friday June 27, 2003, I went to work and when I returned home I noticed that there were three different urine spots on three separate pieces of my furniture. I wasn?t sure which cat had done this until I saw Gwenevere. I immediately knew something was wrong with her. Her tongue was sticking out of her mouth at an odd angle, she was drooling blood and her tail was wet?proving once again that she had urinated on herself ? which points to a lack of urine control as cats are very clean animals and usually do not get urine on themselves when they urinate voluntarily. I immediately called my Vet, and was advised that they were about to close so they directed me to an Emergency Animal Hospital. I took Gwenevere to the Animal Emergency Centre and they were immediately able to tell me that the reason Gwenevere?s tongue was at an odd angle was because it was impaled on one of her Canine teeth. During her seizures she had bitten down on her tongue and one time in particular she was unable to dislodge it from her tooth. Upon further examination the vet saw several lacerations on the top and bottom of her tongue. At this point, we were only assuming she had been having seizures, as I had not yet witnessed her having one.

Upon arriving at the Animal Emergency Centre, one of the first questions I was asked was if I had used any over-the-counter flea products on Gwenevere. I immediately told them that I had used Hartz Advanced Care Brand Once-A-Month Flea & Tick Drops. They seemed to suspect that a problem might be related to using a product such as this.

After examining Gwenevere, Dr. Morgan Cavanaugh, V.M.D. at the Animal Emergency Centre gave Gwenevere a shot of antibiotics for her tongue, did a mild blood work-up and gave her a small bath to remove the Hartz product still on her fur, I left with my cat, after paying $167.00 for that visit.

In the early morning hours of Saturday June 28, 2003, Gwenevere had three more seizures. The first one was mild, the second was a bit worse. While seizing the second time, she fell off my bed, onto my night table and onto the floor, pulling my CD Alarm clock on top of her (I only mention it?s a CD Alarm Clock to give you an idea of the weight of this clock.) I still had not witnessed that this was indeed a seizure as the light had been off when she had the seizure. During each seizure, Gwenevere bites her tongue and urinates uncontrollably; I did notice the urination ? but having never witnessed a seizure in my life ? was not equipped to determine that she was having a seizure. The final seizure of the morning was the most severe. I was lying in bed, trying to keep her comfortable, and she starting convulsing again. This time, I went to pick her up, and her mouth unintentionally found my left wrist and clamped on with all of her teeth. I used my right hand to try to unclench her mouth from my left wrist all the while she was convulsing and making the most awful meowing/howling noises. I was unable to stop her from biting my wrist until the seizure was over. When it was done, her tongue was again sticking out at an odd angle, this time I knew that her tongue was probably once again impaled on her tongue ? so I lifted it up until she again got control and pulled it back inside her mouth. I then noticed that my left wrist was chewed and punctured, as was my right thumb from trying to dislodge my wrist from her mouth. That night was very traumatic for both and Gwenevere and myself.

The next morning ? I called my personal Veterinarian, Dr. Basilious, V.M.D. at Bastet Cat Hospital and made an appointment for Gwenevere. I was prepared to have Gwenevere put to sleep because I couldn?t bear to watch her suffer anymore and her seizures seemed uncontrollable and unpredictable. Upon my arrival, Dr. Basilious immediately asked me if I had used any over-the-counter flea products and I repeated to him what I had told the Vet at the Animal Emergency Centre when asked the same question, that I had used Hartz Advanced Care Brand Once-A-Month Flea & Tick Drops three days earlier. Dr Basilious stated that he had seen other cats put in grave jeopardy from this product before. In fact, the previous cat that had come in after being treated with your product was near death and took a week of hospitalization to get better. He told me that he thought he could save Gwenevere if I followed his instructions. I cannot afford to do neurological testing, extensive x-rays and blood work and expensive treatment. So, he offered me another solution. He suggested I put Gwenevere on Valium for a week, to keep the seizures at bay, wash her with a mild Shampoo that I bought from him, and then just rinse her as many times as I could to try and get the toxicity from your product out of her system. He suggested I repeat the rinsing a couple of times during the week. He also gave Gwenevere another shot of antibiotics for her tongue injuries. He then saw my wrist, which was by this time swollen, and STRONGLY suggested that I go immediately to an emergency room to get myself checked out and get on some antibiotics – as cat bites can be very dangerous.

When I returned home from the Vet on Saturday, I immediately did as Dr. Basilious had instructed me and gave Gwenevere a Valium. I was instructed to give her two a day ? one in the morning and one in the evening ? and one after a seizure. About ten minutes after returning home ? Gwenevere was sitting on my bed grooming herself and I saw her fall off the bed and hit the floor ? hard – I ran to her, and she was convulsing and urinating again. I just prayed the Valium would hurry and kick in as my heart was breaking with having to watch the torment my pet was enduring.

Gwenevere stayed very sedated the rest of Saturday and Sunday June 29, 2003. She barely ate and when she did make it to the litter box she was usually so tired she?d end up just lying there instead of climbing out. Having to leave her alone on Monday June 30, 2003, to go to work was difficult, and my boss was kind enough to let me take a half a day off work to go home and check on her. When I got home on Monday ? I saw that Gwenevere had had another seizure. I also noticed that she was losing lots of fur on her lower back (pictures enclosed.) I once again rinsed her as my vet had instructed me to. When she was dry ? I noticed that she had lost quite a bit of fur and upon closer inspection ? I noticed what appeared to be a burn mark on her skin.

I cannot articulate the trauma of watching an animal I love and have loved for 12 years go through the pain and fear she went through as a result of your product. Aside from that ? trying to save my cat?s life and repair the damage your product caused has been very costly. In two days, I have spent $304.12 (itemized below,) however I am sure this figure will continue to rise, as I need more treatment for my bite and Gwenevere needs at least one more check-up with her Vet (assuming she does improve as both me and Dr. Basilious are hoping.)

The cost of your product was $9.99 (receipt attached.) The other expenses I have incurred as a result of using your product are (receipts for all attached):

6/27/03 ? Animal Emergency Centre, Dr. Morgan Cavanaugh: $167.00
6/28/03 ? Bastet Cat Hospital: $ 96.32
6/28/03 ? Toluca Village Pharmacy (eye ointment, Valium
for Gwenevere): $ 28.80
6/28/03 ? Toluca Village Pharmacy (anti-biotic for myself for
cat bite): $ 12.00
Total: $304.12

Your product gave no indication that it could be toxic to cats. I have now spent over $300 on vet bills trying to save my cat. Upon seeing Gwenevere, both Veterinary Doctors I took her to (my regular Vet and the Emergency Vet) immediately began asking me if I used an over the counter flea repellent – apparently they have seen this many times when people have used your product, and similar products. I also told a neighbor last night what happened and she related that when she used your product it immediately started burning her cats skin ? to the point where he was running around her apartment in pain. I say this only to relay that I know, as you probably do as well, that Gwenevere?s reaction is not an isolated incident. I feel very let down and disappointed in the damage your product has caused to my cat and myself. I can?t understand how this could happen ? I used the product as intended, followed instructions, and the result is absolutely horrifying. I trusted the Hartz name and felt that animal safety would have been put first over profit. It never occurred to me that I could be endangering my cat by using a product you sell specifically for cats.

I am not in a financial position to spend the kind of money I spent over the past couple of days. I did not buy your product to save money ? but out of trust and convenience. If my cat does not improve by the end of the week, unfortunately, I will have to consider Euthanasia. This causes me a lot of distress, witnessing my cat?s health deteriorate before my eyes has been devastating. What is worse is that she was perfectly healthy a week ago, before I used your product on her. If you have a pet of your own ? you can sympathize with my pain.

I was told on your Consumer Relations Hotline to include all of my receipts with this letter. Financial reimbursement seems only fair ? as you cannot reimburse me for the stress and heartache I?ve gone through this past weekend trying to care for my sick cat.

I anxiously await a response from you regarding this situation. I?m sure Dr. Basilious, who I am ccing on this letter, would be happy to speak with you should you have any further questions regarding Gwenevere and her health.

Bad choice to use Hartz product

I recently had a very upsetting experience using Hartz Advanced Care product. Tuesday evening, June 10, I noticed my five year old German Sheppard had fleas, so I got my next dose of Hartz Flea and Tick drops to put on her. After appling the dose, there was a very tiny bit left, approx. two drops. I also knew if Gypsy had fleas, then my kitten, Ricochette, 15 weeks old would have them also. I checked the label on the package, as I do at work, I work landscaping and do spray lawns-in the process of getting certified through New York State. There was no warnings other than if a bad reaction or itching or redness accures, wash your pet. Do not use on puppy’s under 12 weeks of age. It did say it was toxic to fish, but I do not know of any fish that gets fleas. So, I put the last drops on Ricochette. Everything seemed fine, both animals played and did everything normal for the rest of the evening.

At 3 am Ricochette woke me up, shaking, barely able to walk, meow or jump. I quickly washed him off with mild soap, and put him with me for the rest of the night. At 6 am, I took both Ricochette and Gypsy to my mother’s so she could keep an eye on him while I was at work, and again gave him another bath with mild soap. At 8 am I called my vet, they told me to bring Ricochette over right away, very serious. I called my mother and asked her to run him over and I would stop at the vets, enroute to my next job site. My vet put Ricochette on a I.V., and said the only thing he could do was wait and see, the last cat that had this happen to him died. The I.V. was used to flush out his system, that is the only thing to do for this product. He was given my boss’s cell number incase he went down hill, I could be with him, if he had to be put down.

All day, everytime my boss paged me, my heart jumped. Everytime the phone rang at my mother’s, she didn’t want to answer it because she thought it was the vet telling her that something had gone wrong. Finally at 7 pm, my vet called me at home and told me that Ricochette was doing much better, and he was going to keep and eye over him through the night and I could pick him up in the morning.

The next day, I called and Ricochette had the runs really bad, so he was going to do more tests, and to call at noon. Finally at 230 pm I was able to pick him up and after $ 160.00, two days from hell, he is fine and all back to normal. My vet wanted to see the package, and could not believe there was no warning on there not to use on cats or kittens, very toxic to them. I told him I wanted the company to pay for the vet bill, and also was thinking about sueing them for product liability. I am in the process of doing that, and contacting the media in my area to run the story, which is how I found out about your site.

Any and all information I can gather to get this product off the shelves, is one more cat whose life will not be at risk when applying a flea control product. I will never, ever again buy any of their products, and I am telling everyone I know not to use it either.

Being single, my pets are my kids, they are very dear to me, if Ricochette would have died I would have been devastated. If anyone would like to contact me, my e-mail address is [email protected] . Thank you for your time and this web site. Any information that I find to be helpful, I will pass it on right away.

Jeff Tornow
Boston, New York 14025

My dog got mange from Hartz products!

The begining of last week I found one flea on my dog, that has never ever ever had fleas. I freaked out and ran to Wal-Mart to buy some flea drops so I could get something done ASAP. I work during normal business hours, so I’m unable to get to the vet during the week. I applied the drops as instructed and thought nothing of it. A couple of days later I started to notice these little bumps on my dogs side, they were filled with puss, gross I know. Then Monday when I arrived home from work, I noticed that since that morning my dog had lost a patch of hair. I called the vet and they prescribed some medicine and I decided to take off of work to take my dog to the vet. I went to the vet and they did some tests and said that my dog has mange! I told them about what I had put on her and they said that is what caused it. I was shocked! I thought only dirty nasty dogs got mange. They said this was an autoimmune disease like from the inside, or something I don’t totally understand that part, but I do understand that this product — Hartz Advanced Care Plus Drops — Did this to my baby! I’m am very unhappy. I called their customer relations dept right when I got home and they requested all kinds of documentation from my vet, which I have requested from my vet, so I’ll hopefully be getting that in the next week. Then I’ll be mailing it to Hartz. If anyone has any more information or knows of any sites I can go and read up about this happening to dogs please e-mail me at [email protected]

If there is some sort of lawsuit I would like to know more about that too, if you can direct me towards a page where I can learn more about it.

Thank you for your time.

Lost adopted kitty from shelter after only 24 hours

My five yeor old daughter looked at the local Humane Society Animal Shelter for a kitten for four days trying to pick the perfect kitten. After finally deciding on the perfect pet, she adoped “Drew” who she renamed “Tiger”, a 12 week old orange and white kitten that was absolutely adorable! We brought Tiger home and fed him, set up his new bed, litter box, etc. He was perfect for my daughter… loved to be held, purred, and was already litter box trained from the shelter! After a few hours, we noticed that Tiger was covered in fleas. We tried to get them off by combing them out, but were unsuccessful. I had some of the Hartz Control One Spot for Cats and Kittens left from last year that I had used on our 10 year old cat all last summer (and he had never had any reactions.) The label specifically said that it was for “cats AND KITTENS”, so I treated Tiger with one of the applications just before dinner. We played outside with him for about another hour before putting him in his bed so that we could sit down to dinner. When my daughter went to get him after dinner, he had curled up in his bed and was resting, so she went to get her bath and played for a while. We heard Tiger meowing really loudly, so we went to check on him – this was about 3-4 hours after the application of the Hartz medicine. Tiger was trying to get back into his bed from the litter box, but his back legs were completely imobile and he had defacated all over the back of his legs. We instantly picked him up and he had almost become limp, but was still meowing loudly. I tried to wash him off, but noticed that his front legs were now befoming imobile. I looked on the back of the Hartz box for possible side effects. It did not list any, but said for sensitivity to medicine to wash off with lots of water. I then began to wring warm water from the sink over Tiger’s back and body. I wrapped him in warm towels and we held him as he continued to meow and suffer. Tiger died during the night… less than 8-12 hours of the Hartz application and less than 24 hours of picking out the perfect pet for my daughter. Please get the word out about this deadly medicine so no other families will have to suffer the loss of their dear pets.
Crossville, TN

Thanks for the warning

At the beginning of the summer, I applied Hartz flea and tick drops to my two dogs and three of my cats. They had absolutely no adverse reactions, but because the product seemed ineffective- I did not bother using it again. And now I read these terrible stories- to think I put my precious babies at risk! I will let everyone I talk to about the risk and this site dedicated to the education of those risks. But there must be something more that can be done! Is there a type of open letter that we can send to local retailers? That would really make some of us luckyones feel a whole lot better. Feel free to contact me. [email protected]

My cats’ experience with Hartz

Our cats are indoor-only and we’d never had a problem with fleas, but they were infested by a pet-sitter who brought them into our house with her belongings. Being clueless, we bought some Hartz Advanced Care Flea & Tick drops.

About 10 minutes after receiving his application, our 18-pound cat, Pippen, was crying and drooling profusely. He was running around frantically. I immediately suspected a reaction to the Hartz and washed it off him. He stopped drooling after that but seemed listless. We took him to the vet, and to our horror, were told that the vet sees over a dozen cases a year of DEATHS caused by reaction to the Hartz. We were lucky that Pippen didn’t have seizures, another common reaction that our vet sees on a regular basis. We were also incredibly lucky that none of our other cats experienced a reaction. For Hartz to claim that reactions are caused by mis-application is ridiculous. We are educated people and can read and follow simple directions. Our vet says that Hartz side-steps any legal action by relabeling the instructions rather than producing a safe product when complaints arise. Since a lawsuit against Hartz, if won, would only compensate for the ridiculously low “monetary value” of a family pet, it is financially unrealistic for most pet owners to go into litigation against a company with huge legal resources.

We are conducting our own personal boycott against any and all Hartz products. Since we own 18 cats, we buy a LOT of pet products.

Did Hartz Flea Drops kill Ashley?

On May 15, 2003, I applied Hartz Advanced Care Flea and Tick Drops for Cats on my 4 year old cat, Ashley. Within hours, she was running around the house, freaking out. The next morning, she was trembling and I brought her to my vet. The vet was not surprised that Ashley was suffering and told me they felt the product should be removed from store shelves. The vet bill was $318.00 and Ashley spent the day receiving IV fluids and injections to combat the damage from the drops. Ashley was not the same after that incident. She didn’t eat well, never purred, stared off into space and was just generally not “right.”

Early in the morning on June 16, my neighbor knocked on my door to tell me that Ashley was dead on the lawn.

Did Hartz kill Ashley? I don’t know. My vet says that it’s possible the product affected her liver and kidneys.

I’ve contacted Hartz and they have requested a diagnostic report from my vet and copies of any bills.

I’ve contacted several retailers in Carmichael, CA to get the word out about this deadly product. I will do whatever I can to keep this from happening to others.

Thank you for this website.

~ Barb

E-mail from Dr. Chance Fisher

Dr. Fisher wrote in last week and said “As a former veterinarian at Hartz, I can accurately state that we DO NOT produce the Zodiac product line.”

It was late when I received this e-mail and I immediately responded by saying something to the effect of Hartz products are a bunch of garbage. I then asked Dr. Fisher why he was no longer with Hartz.

This was his response:

Actually, if you read the ingredients, the Hartz Advanced Care Flea and Tick Product line has the exact same ingredients as Zodiac, Frontline and Bio Spot. Cats are very sensitive with chemicals and can and do have reactions to certain chemicals in flea treatments. Other companies report just as many reactions as the Hartz company does. In fact, most of the Hartz reports states that the owner either applied the solution inappropriately, or used the wrong product all togehter (i.e. dog product on cats or did not know the weight of the pet and purchased the wrong product for that size of pet.)

The EPA did not recall the Hartz brands, all they asked is that Hartz relabel products so that consumers were more aware on how to apply the product.

As a veterinarian, I have seen just as many cases of chemical toxcity from other flea treatment products as well, it is that Hartz makes it very easy and clear for the consumer to contact the company if anything should occur. Other companies make it more difficult for the consumer to be heard.

Since you asked, I left Hartz to take a position as an Associate Professor at a School of Veterinary Medicine.

Hartz Products = DANGER

on 6/16/03 I used the Hartz Flea and Tick drops on my 1yr old cat. Everything seemed fine the next morning, but around 1:30pm I recieved a call at work from my husband who said my cat was freaking out. So I rush home to find her in convulsions. I immediately take her to the vet thinking she had antifreeze poison. When my vet asked me if I had applied a flea treatment to her, I said yes, I used Hartz. She begins to tell me horror stories about this product. It has only been 2 days, my kitty has survived but still has the occasional tremor. I have to feed her with a small baby bottle to keep her hydrated. Today is her better day by far, but I wonder what the long term effects of this product will be?

Hartz Flea and Tick

My darling little 14 week old kitten went into tremors and shock after applying a flea product made by Hartz. Is there not a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer?