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Safety of Hartz Ultraguard flea and tick medication for cats

Customer's question: I just tried using Hartz Ultraguard for cats on my healthy 5-month-old kitten for the first time. After the application, he was hissing and acting unusual. Is this product safe for cats?

Veterinarian's answer: We expect Hartz Ultraguard for cats to be safe when used as directed on the label. In some rare instances, however, a cat who is sensitive to it will show signs of problems shortly after application. Typical symptoms are drooling, tremors, and difficulty walking. The best thing to do if this is happening is to give a thorough bath with Dawn dishwashing soap and seek veterinary attention.

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Resolved Question:

He licked some Hartz UltraGaurd flee dip off his paw when he rubbed the back of his neck. My dog started playing with him but he was hissing. I got worried and gave him a small bath to wash the spot Off, then another bath with Dawn just in case

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if your cat will be able to digest that. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about your cat?

No. He's a young (5 month - 5/6 pound) perfectly healthy cat. I just looked oline and seen some awful things that happen to them

Submitted: 5 months ago.
Answered in 3 minutes by:
3/8/2018
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 3,480
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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Hello,

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm a vet with more than 20 years of experience and I'll do my best to help you. I'm so sorry this happened, but glad you're looking for the information you need.

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Did this all just happen within the last few minutes?

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And am I understanding correctly that you put the Hartz UltraGuard on your dog, but then your kitten touched the dog and got some on him as well?

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If that's the case and it just happened and your kitten is acting otherwise okay, you shouldn't need to do anything more than to wash the spot off with some dish soap, rinse.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Hello, it was about an hour and a half ago. And no we used the tick treatment for cats on him
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
We gave Jensen, our cat, the treatment around 4. First rinsed it off at 4:30 and another full blown bath at 5. He was breathing heavy and hissing at anyone who walked by which is very out of character. So I looked online for similar cases and most say after 3 months their cats passed away. Which is not an option.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I'm afraid he may have ingested some. We gave him some cat treats and he ate those fine but doesn't want to drink water. He isn't hissing anymore. Just licking the bathwater off. He also isn't playing much but that could just be me freaking out because it has only been 2 hours.

Thank you for clearing that up for me.

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Your quick action with washing it off right away was good. That may have been a lifesaving step.

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I am also relieved to know it was the cat product, and not an accidental application of the dog product. That decreases the likelihood of a serious problem.

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If this is going to cause a problem for him, I would expect him to show signs of problems NOW, within the next 24 hours. We do not expect him to be okay then pass away suddenly in three months.

You have a couple of options for how to proceed, now that you've already done the most important thing by washing it off right away.

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You can opt to take him to an emergency center where they can evaluate him and draw baseline blood tests to measure where his kidney and liver, etc. function are right now (while it's too soon for the flea product to have had any effect.)

They can also provide any other treatment he may need based on any findings during his exam.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
He hasn't vomited or had diaherra (yet). So it probably wasn't more than a full drop off his paw. I just want to make sure that this isn't going to kill him. Because I can't really afford emergency care. Paying this chat is already putting me in a spot. But I don't have many options

It's also possible that he's not going to have any further trouble with this now that you've washed it off. The fact he isn't drinking right now isn't too alarming; he just may not be thirsty.

If he's acting okay, you can wait and see if he continues to improve.

If he's acting normal over the next several hours, he isn't likely to decline after that.

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I understand where you're coming from.

Unfortunately, it's pretty difficult to tell ahead of time if he's going to have any more trouble with this.

Even though I'm not a fan of this particular product, a lot of cats have it applied and do okay.

I certainly wouldn't recommend using it again, for sure.

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Keep in mind when you're looking for similar stories online that the specific active ingredient matters. There are a lot of Hartz products out there (most are labeled for dogs only) that will straight up be lethal to a cat nearly every time you use them.

This one is supposed to be safe for cats, and is for most.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
He's playing now which is a relief. I feel much better knowing he should be fine. I was just panicked

It's easy to panic. This can be scary stuff.

Since he's playing now, I wouldn't expect any more trouble.

Revolution is a good option that's safe for cats. So is Frontline Plus for cats. It can be so hard choosing a product that's likely to be both safe and effective.

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Is there anything else I can help you with for now? I'm so glad the panic is over.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
He has a slight twitch, is that alarming?

A slight twitch would make me want to give him another bath, more thoroughly and patiently this time. Suds him up well with liquid dish soap and let the suds sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Okay, I will do that. Thank you.

If the twitch continues, I'd advise a trip to the ER, even if it's a stretch for your budget, just to be on the safe side. Twitching and tremors are the earliest sign of trouble. At the ER, they can use medications to decrease or eliminate them before they turn into seizures.

If the twitch is mild and doesn't get any worse, it should go away on its own.

It's all a matter of dose. A mild exposure can cause minor twitching that goes away on its own without treatment. A large exposure can cause twitches leading to seizures, convulsions, and potentially lethal reactions.

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Since the dose is what's crucial, you want to do all you can to reduce his exposure by giving that second, less-hurried bath.

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The odds are in his favor that if you do that, he won't need any additional treatment.

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Sounds like you have a good plan in order.

If that's it for now, please take a moment to rate my response so I may receive credit for helping you today.

Thank you for using our website. I'll be hopeful things remain uneventful from here on out.

Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 3,480
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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