View Full Version : Question for Vets about Fleas
07-06-2004, 01:25 PM
I have a question for any verterinarians out there. I'm afraid my cat has fleas. I've heard that the best thing for fleas is that stuff called Advantage that you squirt on the back of its head. However, that stuff is rather expensive. I se that Hartz makes a similar product for much less money, but I seem to remember hearing somewhere that the stuff Hartz makes is bad for cats and you shouldn't use it.
So, do I remember correctly, or is the stuff from Hartz fine? Or, is there another product out there that you would recommend? Or, should I just accept that relief from fleas for my cat is worth the cost of Advantage?
Thank you in advance.
07-06-2004, 01:58 PM
IANAV but I found your question a good one. Did a google search on "hartz advantage veterinarian fleas" and got a site explaning the Hartz controversy.
Dr. Van Wyk, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at the University of Rhode Island, found herself in that situation in June 2001, after she used Hartz Advanced Care Flea and Tick Drops for Cats on her three cats. Within an hour of application, all three cats were having violent reactions—all three had to be hospitalized.
The case is a little more complicated than it appears; lawsuits continue and Hartz will not admit liability. Hundreds of complaints have been received about the product. A major problem seems to be the use of pyrethrin, a component of the Hartz product.
"What it boils down to is that this product, pyrethrin, is not safe for a cat," Dr. Rose said. "Ten-plus years ago, we had to use pyrethrins—it was all we had."
But today, many major manufacturers of flea and tick "spot" treatments have moved away from the use of pyrethrins, she said. In Bayer’s Advantage, the active ingredient is imidacloprid; Merial’s Frontline products contain fipronil; Pfizer’s Revolution product employs selamectin.
It may cost more to use Advantage or one of the other products mentioned in the quote above, but in the long run it's cheaper than potential veterinary bills if your cat has an adverse reaction.
07-06-2004, 01:59 PM
In my experience as a vet tech (and pet owner), I would highly recommend going for the good stuff - Frontline, to be exact. Some vets only offer one brand of flea product, but I would strongly suggest getting Frontline.
Also, you can give kitty a good bath. :D Seriously - some groomers will bathe cats. Ours used plain old Dawn dish soap to kill the fleas (much less toxic and better smelling than flea shampoos) and followed it up with a really good conditioner.
You can also buy very fine-toothed flea combs and go over kitty frequently. Just remember - the bulk of the fleas in the area will not be on your cat, but in the carpet or where kitty sleeps.
The only thing a flea collar is good for is vacuuming. Cut one up and put it in the vacuum bag before running it - be thorough! Then, you must throw the vacuum bag away outside immediately.
Best of luck to you!
07-06-2004, 02:10 PM
I would advise Bayer's product, Advantage. IAAV and I prefer Advantage over Frontline.
I would avoid all Hartz products. The company has marketed products that were problematic (animals died) yet good sellers in the past. Google "Hartz Blockade" for just one example.
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
07-06-2004, 02:12 PM
IANAV, either, but I used the Hartz drops on a cat once, and for a almost a week she puked back up just about everything she ate. I can't say that the drops caused that for sure--but it had never happened before, and it has not happened since. It's worth my piece of mind to spring for the Frontline Plus drops, and the same manufacturer has a new product called "Revolution," which is also supposed to ward off ear mites as well as ticks and fleas. Haven't had any bad reactions with that, either.
07-06-2004, 02:25 PM
Thank you for the replies everybody. My cat's happiness is worth it, but I wanted to make sure.
07-06-2004, 02:26 PM
I see that Hartz makes a similar product for much less money
To further clarify, Hartz does not make a similar product. The packaging and method of application are similar in an attempt to fool the consumer. Hartz (IMHO) is a foul company.
07-06-2004, 02:27 PM
Advantage for dogs is the same stuff as Advantage for cats except there is 4 times the volume in the dog dosage. I split the cost with my neighbour who has two cats and we divide one ampoule into 4 parts and treat all 4 cats. Big savings if you know another cat owner.
Advantage is great stuff.
07-06-2004, 02:42 PM
One final thought on the Hartz company.
07-08-2004, 05:12 AM
If you would really like more education about fleas on your cat (or dog), here is an easy to read site:
The Flea Control Center (http://www.marvistavet.com/html/the_flea_control_center.html)
It includes a page specifically on why it is not advisable to buy "over the counter" flea products (that is, flea products available at a grocery store):
The Over-the Counter and Black Market Copycat Flea Control Products (http://www.marvistavet.com/html/over-the-counter_and_black_mar.html)
It doesn't mention any brand names but does talk about permethrin and it's problems, including one pesky little inconvienience: it's toxic to cats.
One "card" of Advantage for your cat should cost about $40 or $45, and will include four applications. Hopefully $10 or $11 a month isn't too much to keep your cat flea-free.
Another option is to use a product called Program. It doesn't kill any fleas at all, but it keeps any fleas your cat has from reproducing. If yours is an indoor cat, one flea bath to kill the current fleas and Program will stop the problem, as the occaisional flea will never reproduce. It is available from your Vet either as a pill (lasting one month) or a shot, which lasts for 6 months.
Good luck with your kitty.
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