There are three cats in my household. Ricci and Punkin are mine, and Tye-Dye belongs to my dad. When the flea population rises it becomes my job to put flea killer drops on their necks. Even though it's expensive I have always used Advantage which I buy it at my veterinarians office. It averages about $10 per tube and comes in a package of 6 tubes. Because the two boys weigh over 9 pounds and Punkin is around 7 pounds, I have to buy two different packages for a total of $120. Last Friday it was time to apply the liquid to all the cats. I had enough tubes for the boy's but I was totally out of the one for Punkin. Since I didn't really have the money to buy it from the vet, I went to the local Wal-Mart to see what they had as an alternative. After perusing the choices, I decided on Hartz 4 in 1 Flea and Tick Drops Plus for the bargain price of $8 for 3 tubes.
It was pretty obvious about 2 hours after applying the liquid that something was wrong. Punkin was drooling and her head was twitching a bit. Later I caught her scratching the area with her back legs and as she walked she would shake her legs as if they were wet and she was trying to dry them. I immediately tried washing the stuff off and eventually had to take some shampoo to the area. I did the best I could but whatever that substance is it's hard to get off. For the rest of the weekend my baby was obviously not herself. She was lethargic and would only leave the bedroom if I carried her out. This is another sign that something was wrong as she hates being held. I also don't think she was eating or drinking much but since I couldn't watch her every second, I didn't know for sure.
Last night I decided to do some research and found a very troubling web-site. It's called www.hartzvictims.org and is dedicated to getting all these crappy Hartz products off of the shelves. If you check out the site you will find hundreds if not thousands of stories of animals who have gotten extremely sick and even died after the use of these products. And don't think dog's are immune because they aren't. I also read a couple of horrific dog stories as well. I will be fair and point out that not every animal has had a negative reaction to these products but I also feel that the numbers that have should not be ignored.
As for Punkin, she seems to be doing better although she still isn't at her best. She has been eating, drinking water, and purred for a good ten minutes this morning. She even managed to hiss at Ricci but she is still a little twitchy and not her normal, active self. After speaking with the assistant at my veterinarians office I decided not to take her in as there probably isn't much that can be done at this point and she gets way to stressed when put in a carrier. I just don't think that added stress would be good for her. At this point, I just have to wait it out. From what I read it could be a couple of weeks before she is back to her normal so I'm sure she will be back to her regular princess duties soon.
I wrote this as a warning for all my pet owning readers. I put my trust in a product based on the limited information I had at the time. Had I known then what I know now, I would never taken the cheap way out. My veterinarians office said that they have no way of getting information out to the public as to how bad Hartz products are. Luckily for me, I have a blog and I'm not afraid to use it to get this information out. Please check out the web-site and share this information with as many people as possible. No one should have to go through what I went through this weekend.
UPDATE: I just found a link on the Hartz victims site to the EPA web-site. Apparently the company recently changed the labels to add warnings, plan on stopping production of this product by the end of September, and stop selling it, at least temporarily, at the end of the year. I just want to state that I followed the instructions and read the warnings but felt Punkin would be okay as she met all the requirements on the label. Obviously I was wrong and I personally feel this stuff should be off the shelves now, not at the end of the year.