My mother and I were recently shopping in our local Wal-Mart store when we entered the pet department. A few weeks prior, my mother had purchased a kitten from a pet store. While in the pet section, she decided to purchase the Hartz Advanced Care Once a Month Flea and Tick Drops. As she was at the checkout, paying for her merchandise, the cashier actually recommended this product to my mother and stated it was so much cheaper then the kind the veterinary clinics recommend. Little did my mother know that eight hours later she would be at the Cornell University Veterinary Clinic with her kitten having a forty percent chance of living.
When she returned home from shopping, my mother placed the drops on her kitten and followed the directions to the letter. In about one hours time, her kitten started having a difficult time walking, breathing, and began shaking uncontrollably. She called the Animal Poison Control Hotline and when she told them that she used the Hartz product, they told her to get her cat to an animal hospital as soon a possible. With no animal hospitals open within a reasonable driving distance, she called Cornell University and they agreed to treat her cat.
According to the discharge papers from Cornell University, her cat was admitted in fair condition and wasn’t expected to make it through the night. The vets at Cornell had to perform seizure management, fluid therapy, pain management, and had to take blood work. Iggy, the cat, was released later the next day and about three days later still hasnt completely recovered. It was stated that he may have permanent brain damage from this product and that it is currently too early to determine if that may occur. The flea medication cost about five dollars at Wal-Mart and the aftermath is now an estimated vet bill of one thousand dollars.
The product that was purchased is also know as the 3 in 1 Formula for Cats. The EPA Regulation Number is 2596-151 and that can be found on the back of the product package. According to the package, my mother’s kitten was old enough and met the weight requirements for using this product. Honestly, I am not really sure if you can trust the product label because it also lists this product as a “gentle formula.” I do not know how a gentle formula can almost kill an animal.
When I researched this product online, I realized there was a organization devoted to victims of this flea medication and their website is www.HartzVictims.org and was founded by Josh Janicek. That website combined with the many others that can be found on the internet, states there are thousands of individuals who have had their cats injured or killed because of these products. Also while on the internet, I learned that some of Hartz Flea & Tick Medication were recalled in 2002; however, they were allowed to alter their labels and restock store shelves.
Currently, it is stated that Hartz Mountain Corp, the parent company, will voluntary stop producing the flea formulas with the EPA Regulation Numbers of 2596-151 and 2596-148 by September 31, 2005. Although they will no longer be producing the formula, they will continue to ship out this product until October 31, 2005 and I believe that stores will be able to sell this product until it is no longer in stock. Before that time is reached, Hartz apparently agreed to once again alter the labels to inform customers that this item could cause death in kittens or cats. This should of already occurred; however, the package that we purchased did not have such a warning on it. It did state that kittens or cats should be watched after the first application was applied, but, there was no mention of potential hair loss or death.
If your cat or kitten has had an unpleasant reaction to any of the Hartz Flea and Tick Medications, it is recommend that you contact the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378. The EPA also recommends that if you have a partially used package, do not dispose of it in the normal garbage or by dumping the fluids down the drain. Anyone who has unused portions should call their local waste management company for instructions.
There are many steps that you can take to ensure that your pets do not have a large amount of fleas. Keeping your pets inside is the best way to ensure that they are flea free; however, if your pet must go outside it is recommend that you keep the area clean and mowed frequently. In the home, vacuum often, use a flea comb, and wash pet bedding at least once a week. If you feel that your pet has fleas, it is recommend that you take them to their vet to receive flea treatment. There also some over the counter flea shampoos and sprays that your veterinarian can suggest; however, it is recommend that you do not purchase these items without discussing it first.