My cat died this morning July 1, 2012

I treated our cat,Gretel, a very active and healthy 1 year old, with Hartz Ultraguard Plus Flea Spray and also treated her with the spot treatment Ultraguard Pro. Within 4 days she was acting lethargic and “stoned” . I took her to the vet the next day. They bathed her, gave her fluids, cortisone, antibiotics and (believe it or not) another dose of Flea control. I picked her up after 3 days there. Within 3 more she could not walk at all. I went back to the vet, they gave her more fluids and I brought her home. Over the next 6 days she got weaker, finally having 2 major seizures yesterday evening. Over night her breathing became more troubled. She died this morning about 8:30. Her weight went from a healthy 11 pounds to 6.6 pounds in 2 weeks. I was feeding her by syringe (water, vitamins, broth) for the last week of her life.
The active ingredients of these treatments are  S-methoprene and an organophospate (Tetrachlorvinphos)  in the same family as Sarin poison. These are both neurotoxins that that are designed to affect the nervous systems of insects and , sadly, any animals or humans that contact them. In fact, organophosphates are the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the world and is suspected of connections to numerous child and adult conditions in humans.
The labeling on the bottle might as well be non-existent. The warning is printed under a flap on the bottle that is virtually impossible to peel back… and the font is so small you can barely see it. Further, they give NO indication as to how lethal their product can be.
This product NEEDS to be in a box with a fully printed instruction sheet with warnings as to the dangerous poison it contains, with FULL disclosure as to the side effects, symptoms of overdose, etc… It also needs to contain information on an antidote.
I think it is criminal for a company to market such a dangerous product without any consideration to the damage it can do to animals, but also to people who may contact it.

It obviously does not take much to cause a severe and irreversible reaction!

TREATMENT AND ANTIDOTE:  I searched high and low to find something I could do to help my friend. If you get your pet to the vet soon enough, a shot of Atropine MAY help (according to the literature). After that the symptoms will progress as outlined above.  In humans it is possible to arrest the onset, but once the damage is done, it is not reversible. In pets I think the treatment is not available. The vets (I went to a second for another opinion) were somewhat stymied. Her reflexes were fine, she looked not too bad and was fairly alert with moments of disorientation. Even on her last day she was fairly aware of things.  Her blood panel was pretty normal, with a low red cell count (we ascribed to the fleas). The damage of this poison is to the nerves. It affects their ability to transmit and eventually the victim dies.

I was unable to find anything more on possible treatments. Please, if someone knows more than me, add it to the website.

 

Too many to remember

I don’t have a personal story, but I just wanted to say that I am an RVT and have worked in a clinic for 9 years, I have seen neurological, skin and behavior reactions to these cheap flea products, some have resulted in death and some in permanent damage. There have been too many to count, it’s a tragedy that these products are on the market and so easy to buy. Something must be done. This page is a great start.

Close Call

So I came home from a long weekend only to find that fleas had taken over my home. Not only were they literally sucking my poor kitties’ blood but mine as well. I foolishly wanted a quick fix until I could get to my vet to buy the good stuff so I headed to my local Wal-Mart and picked up the Hartz ultra-guard 3-in-1 spray.

My cats of course hated it and were already mad at me after our 4 hour car ride so i thought little of it when they hid from me for most of the day. However when it got closer to bedtime my normally vocal kitties were nowhere to be found. I began searching the house calling and clicking for them to come to no avail (this alone worried me quite a bit as it is completely out of their characters not to come) and eventually found Buster curled up in the corner of my closet and Binx hiding under my bed. Neither one would come out from their hiding spots or reply to their names (they meow back at me when spoken to). I became more concerned when I noticed that their eye’s were a little dull. I was finally able to get Buster out of the closet after a struggle, also very uncharacteristic, and scooped him up only to find that he was extremely listless. Another warning sign.

Becoming increasingly concerned I rinsed both of their coats off with warm water hoping to get the goop out of their fur. There was still a lingering smell even after their quick showers, so I decided to look the Hartz product up only to stumble across this site. Now, as you can imagine my concern at this point is bordering on panic, these are my two baby boys we’re talking about! I quickly snatched both of them up and grabbed the Dawn and we were off to take a real scrub down shower.

So far the bath seems to have helped and both are still drinking water, but I’ll keep a close eye on them through the next few days and hope that these callous suits don’t claim yet another innocent life.