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.
Please join me in taking our campaign against Hartz, Sergeant’s, Wellmark, and Farnam to a new level. They have been profiting from the killing of our cats and dogs for too many years. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is supposed to be regulating these products, continues to sit quietly by as these companies wreak havoc on people and their beloved companions. Every day that goes by, more innocent animals are poisoned by unsuspecting pet owners looking for an inexpensive flea and tick treatment.
A crucial component of our campaign will be collecting cold, hard facts. I am in the process of submitting a request for information from the EPA (via the Freedom of Information Act), and I will make that information available to everyone here when I receive it.
The following companies are bottling poison. A few of the brands they’re associated with are in parenthesis. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.
- Hartz Mountain Corporation (Hartz, Hartz Advanced Care, UltraGuard Plus, UltraGuard Pro)
- Sergeant’s Pet Products – (Sergeant’s Flea & Tick, Sentry Flea & Tick)
- Farnam – (Adam’s Flea & Tick, Bio Spot, Scratchex Flea & Tick Products, Sulfodene, Flys-Off,
- Wellmark International (Zodiac, Vet Kem)
Here are my ideas for how we can create awareness on a massive scale:
- Every pet owner whose pet has suffered any kind of adverse effect, please file an official report with the agencies who are SUPPOSED to be regulating these products. Insist that the treating vet also file reports. This is absolutely essential!
- Tell your vet to post information warning against these toxic products in the waiting room. We all know that vets don’t recommend these brands, but we have to get them to be proactive!
- Tell all of your friends and family members about the dangers of these products.
- Visit your local Humane Society, SPCA, and other shelters and tell them what you know. Advise them to reject donations of any of the above-named brands. Ask them to post information warning against these toxic products in plain view of people who are there to adopt an animal. Ask them to be proactive in warning adopters against using these products.
- Print out the anti-Hartz mini-flyers and give one to every pet owner you meet on the street. Roll them up and stick them into packages of Hartz’s poison on shelves at your local grocery stores, drug stores, pet store chains, and big-box stores. (I will be making new flyers which warn against ALL of the poisonous brands soon — stay tuned.)
- Post negative reviews of these toxic products on the websites that sell them, including PetSmart.com, Petco.com, and TerrificPets.com. Post negative reviews on review sites, like epinions.com.
- Join pet-related discussion groups and spread the word!
- Boycott ALL products manufactured by the above-named companies, and urge your family and friends to do likewise. Don’t give them a single cent.
- If possible, boycott ALL stores (including online stores!) that sell these products (especially the big pet store chains, like PetSmart and Petco).
- Contact your local news station and tell them your story! They may want to tell your story on the small screen — and that will reach thousands of people.
- Remember that every single person you tell becomes a source of information for other people!
Please, everyone, let’s put our collective outrage into action!