EPA reviews flea prevention products

Updated: 7/20/2001 7:03 PM
By: Kelly Kyle

Hartz Mountain Corporation flea protection products are now under scientific review by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Following up on a story News 8 Austin reported last month, the EPA became concerned after reports of several deaths, hundreds of seizures and thousands of minor incidents involving cats and dogs who used Hartz flea control products.

Hartz Control One Spot for dogs and cats and Hartz Advanced Care Flea and Tick Drops are the products the EPA wants more information about.

Local Veterinarian Christine Duvall said she knows first hand the problem with over-the-counter flea drops. “When I heard that the EPA was finally looking into these products, I felt like saying it’s about time because I’ve been calling everytime my patients get sick,” Duvall of the Brodie Animal Hospital said. “Other veterinarians have been calling. Many clients have been calling. We’ve all been calling and complaining for a couple of years. So I was relieved to hear that finally something is being done about it.” 

Hartz said the products are safe when used as directed, but admits some animals may have allergic reactions. The EPA asked for specific information from Hartz to find out why these incidents are happening. The EPA has not recalled the products; they will not make any determination on their safety until the scientific review is over.

Products under review 

Reg. No. 2596-146: Control One-Spot for Dogs
2.9%methoprene and 45% permethrin
Registered 7/29/97 
Reg. No. 2596-147: Control One-Spot for Cats
2.9% methoprene
Registered 5/14/98 
Reg. No. 2596-148: Advanced Care Flea and Tick Drops for Cats
85.7% D-phenothrin and 2.9% methoprene
Registered 12/10/98 
Reg. No. 2596-150: Advanced Care Flea and Tick Drops for Dogs
85.7% D-phenothrin and 2.3% methoprene
Registered 1/23/00 

Our Riley on TV

This is the story that was aired
on Austin’s News 8
. Elise and I contacted News 8 the morning we found
Riley had become ill after having been given the Hartz Advanced Care Flea & Tick Drops
Plus for cats.

Cats can react to flea medication
6/27/2001 8:28 AM
By: Doug Shupe, News 8 Austin

Some cat owners are worried the cure for fleas may be worse than the problem.

Josh Janicek and Elise Boeckman thought their cat Riley would never play like the way he used to.

In fact last Friday morning they didn’t think he would live.

They used an over-the-counter product called Hartz Advanced Care Flea & Tick Drops Plus.

Janicek and Boeckman said they followed the directions and applied the product on Riley’s back. And less than 12 hours later, they said, Riley was acting very strange.

“He was shaking uncontrollably, he was acting really weird like he was freezing to death and he was acting like he was hallucinating, he was swatting at invisible things,? Janicek said.

They immediately called an emergency veterinarian hospital and took him in. Dr. Chris Duvall said that since flea season has started she’s seen other cats with the same kind of problems. Other vets have made similar reports. The vets said the symptoms can be fatal if animals don’t get treatment quickly … like Riley did.

“Cats are very sensitive to drugs because they have very unique livers and they metabolize drugs very poorly so they are very sensitive to a lot of things,? Duvall said.

That’s why Duval recommends pet owners avoid over-the-counter treatments and stick to prescription drugs from veterinarians. Duvall said pet owners should never use a product meant for a dog on a cat. She said if you use an over-the-counter product on your animal and notice a strange reaction, you should wash the animal with a liquid dish detergent and call a veterinarian.

“The newer compounds we are selling at the veterinary products are Midicloprid and Fiprinil and they are very safe they are very new compounds that attack the insect’s nervous system but have no affect on mammals people or animals where the older compounds Pyrethrian is a pesticide that’s been around for 30 years. It’s been around a long time and it’s never really worked well and it’s always caused problems,? Duvall said.

But she warned consumers not to be fooled. Both products look very similar.

“The over-the-counter products you see in the grocery store and pet stores are packaged almost identically to the veterinary products so clients actually think they are buying the veterinary product and are putting it on their cat and it’s a totally different ingredient,? Duvall said.

When asked for a comment The Hartz Mountain Corp. responded in written statement, “In certain cases, cats may have a genuine reaction to a flea and tick product. It’s like people and medicines — some people cannot take certain medicines.”

Janicek and Boeckman are happy to have Riley back to normal. They said they?re not taking any more chances. They’ll read the ingredients first and ask their vet if the product will be safe for Riley.

Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP Class Action Suit


NEW YORK? On November 15, 2001, the law firm of Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP and Squitieri & Fearon, LLP filed the first class action lawsuit on behalf Advanced Care Brand Flea & Tick Drops for Cats (“Advanced Care Drops”) users against The Hartz Mountain Corp. (“Hartz”). The complaint was filed on behalf of Dr. Judy VanWyk and all other consumers of Hartz Advanced Care Drops who have been injured by Defendants’ improper acts and practices. The class action complaint seeks to recover compensatory damages as well as equitable relief to permanently enjoin Defendant Hartz from the sale, manufacture and/or distribution of Advanced Care Drops and other relief. If you would like to be involved in the action or would simply like to receive updates about the progress of this suit via e-mail, please fill out the Consumer Information Form/Questionnaire we have prepared by
clicking here. If you would like to contact us directly, please send an e-mail to
[email protected] or call Anthony Vozzolo, Esq. at (877)247-4292 or (212)983-9330. Additionally, we are investigating similar problems with other Hartz products and would also like to know about your experiences. Please keep us informed of your experiences by completing a Consumer Information Form/Questionnaire which can be found on the firm’s website at

Flea Control Product Could Poison Pets – Class-Action Lawsuit Filed

Via Houston’s
– November 22, 2002

HOUSTON — A product that pet owners use to protect their furry friends may cause serious harm, News2Houston reported Thursday.

A few drops of a flea control product that are administered on a pet’s back may be poisoning them because of the toxins inside, which could be too strong for cats.

Some pet owners and veterinarians are calling for the product, Hartz Care Advanced Flea and Tick Drops Plus, to be pulled from store shelves.

Last May, Bob Murphy applied the drops to his cat, Little Guy. Within days, he said Little Guy became extremely ill.

“Instead of meowing or anything, he just kind of had a guttural-type sound, like he was in pain,” Murphy said.

A trip to the emergency room showed that the cat suffered from toxic poisoning, the same kind that caused another cat, Kirby, to have seizures.

The common link — an insecticide named phenothrin, which is the primary ingredient found in some flea and tick products.

“They can’t detoxify it as well so it builds up in their blood stream and when it does that, it causes toxic signs of the nervous system,” said Dr. William Folger, a veterinarian with Memorial Cat Hospital.

Folger said the toxins could lead to coma or death.

“Think of this as a human drug and 40 or 50 deaths have been reported, this drug would already be off the market,” Folger said.

The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating Hartz due to the number, severity and consistency of adverse reaction to the product. The agency strongly recommends that proposed labeling on the package not be accepted. Officials said that they found it confusing, possibly “causing pet owners to delay treatment of potentially fatal neurological signs of toxicity.”

Hartz sent News2Houston the following response.

“We would not expect following package directions and applying the appropriate dosage to cause any adverse reactions.”

“We stand firmly behind these products,” a Hartz spokesman said.

After months of treatment, Little Guy is on the road to recovery, though he still suffers from lingering neurological problems.

Hartz sent Murphy a reimbursement check of $1,735.50 to cover medical costs.

Hartz is reportedly working on the wording on the back of its product.

More than 350 pet owners have joined together in a class-action lawsuit against Hartz, according to News2Houston.

Experts said that pet owners should look for the following warning signs.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial twitching
  • Loss of balance
  • Coma

Any pets that exhibit the warning signs should be taken for treatment immediately.