I can't begin to tell you how angry I am following this past weeks events. I will begin by telling those that don't know that I have six rescue cats. One is a Momma cat that we found emaciated and pregnant living under a truck where her only source of food was a kindly resident throwing her table scraps and bologna. She managed to give birth two months later to six very healthy kittens. I found a home for two of them and kept her and her four remaining babies. I also took in a friendly Tom that was apparently dumped on our dead end street, I found him sleeping under my car one morning and so he moved in with us as well. I had been using an expensive flea treatment from the vet when necessary and had no problems except the cost. My husband lost his job last October and has only recently regained work so to save money I tried an OTC product the past two times I needed flea treatments. That is how the trouble started....follow me below the fold for another sad story of corporate greed and disregard for life...
I used Hartz Ultra Guard drops for cats on my cats the past two months as flea season is in full swing here in Florida. The first time I used it was in April. The cats acted funny after I applied the drops, although I chalked it up to their catlike dislike of anything "wet" on them. One kicked her back feet frequently and I found clumps of hair on the carpet a few times, everyone seemed to get over it in a few days and I assumed they were just angry about the treatment. I was wrong. I applied another treatment last Thursday and began to notice very odd behavior in several of my babies. One kept kicking her back legs as if something was itching her. Two others have bald spots on their necks where the treatment was applied. All six have completely lost their appetites and for the past several days have barely eaten their hard food and will only eat their soft food or treats. They are all acting distressed, following me around the house and vocalizing frequently. Thankfully they are all still drinking water and not showing any severe neurological symptoms.
I became worried when their food bowls were still full when I got home from work yesterday so I consulted "The Google" and to my horror found several sites dedicated to stopping Hartz and other corporations from selling these products. These pyrethroid containing products have killed or harmed thousands of animals even after being forced to stop selling a different version of the products in 2006. There appears to be a pattern of the EPA approving these products then pulling them a few years later after complaints from consumers.
Here is a heartwrenching video of two cats that had adverse reactions, one survived but still has trouble walking, the other sadly, died.
Their story is by no means unique. In just one day of digging, I've found countless stories of rushed visits to the vet, convulsions, staggering and death. You can read what the Center for Public Integrity wrote on the topic.
Here is another video featuring two dogs harmed by these products.
Hartz is not the only company that sells these products so you can only be sure if you check labels. Almost all OTC flea treatments contain some form of Pyrethroids. Hartz is being particularly egregious however by attacking those that speak out against their products. They claim the incidents are caused by consumers not following the instructions completely. The problem with that argument is even when THEY conducted tests they found the product had migrated down the shoulder of a test subject. If they can't appy the stuff "correctly" how are consumers supposed to? Hartz has slapped a popular veterinarian with a "cease and desist" after the vet wrote an article in the Miami Herald that was critical of their products. You can read the veterinarians response here.
Do your own research on this but I for one will NEVER use another Hartz product nor any of other companies peddling this poison in the guise of "helping" our beloved furry family members. Here are two sites you can start with:
I can't believe I almost killed my own beloved babies by trying to help them. As I type they are all sleeping peacefully but still not eating well. Some are still not quite themselves but I think the worst has passed for my babies, don't let your babies be next! Oh, and to add insult to injury, I just picked two fleas off of one of my boys...The stuff is toxic but it doesn't kill fleas...go figure.
UPDATE: You guys are great. I had given up hope this would make the rec list and I so wanted it to make it in order to save pets lives. If even one of you decides to not use these products it will have been worth writing.