Sergeant's Gold Flea And Tick Drops / Poisoned My Dog
I've used the Sergeant's and Hartz products on my pets for years. I never thought to question their safey because they are approved by the EPA and available over the counter in grocery stores. Of course I realized this type of product was a pesticide with dire warnings on the back of the box about ingesting it or getting it on the skin, contacting posion control for help, etc.- warnings for HUMANS. For this reason I never applied the whole recommended dosage anyway, and my pets and my house remained flea and tick free. Then a reaction happened.
Within an hour of using only a couple drops of the Sergeant's Gold Flea and Tick Squeeze-On for Dogs, my little 12 pound dog was vomiting white foam, seizuring, and choking. He had licked the pesticide off of his back and down the side of his body, and his skin was red and raised. Since I've used this product many times with no side effects, I wasn't convinced that the drops were really to blame for his symptoms. Of course this happened late on a Friday night when no vets were open anywhere. I turned to the computer to help me figure out what was going on and how to help my dog.
Imagine my surprise when I looked online and discovered that not only Sergeant's, but Hartz, Bio-Spot, and other flea and tick products have been suspected of causing the poisoning deaths and nervous system damage of hundreds, maybe thousands of pets for at least the last 7 years. The symptoms of this type of poisoning were exactly what my dog was exhibiting. I was shocked to see entire websites up that detail the dangers of these products, such as Hartzvictim.org, Hartzkills.org, and others. There are videos on youtube showing suffering cats who have been poisoned. There are lists of U.S. television news broadcasts that have documented the concern among vets and pet owners. There are tallies of the expensive veterinary care that was required to save people's poisoned animals. It broke my heart hearing the stories of distraught pet owners who had unwittingly killed their beloved pet. The guilt and helplessness they spoke about was something I could relate to as I held my struggling dog and tried to console him and ease the pain. The EPA has apparently done little over the years to solve the problem other than have the companies change the warnings on their labels to ensure that owners don't accidentally put cat drops on dogs, and vice versa. This cat/dog confusion is not the issue in most of the poisonings I read about however, and it is not the issue with my dog.
This is what I did to provide emergency help to my dog: I took off his collar in case the poison had gotten onto it. Then I immediately washed the Sergeant's Gold Flea and Tick Squeeze-on for Dogs off my dog's body with baby shampoo. I dried him off and gave him water to drink in a dropper. I kept him on a towel in case he threw up again, then promptly removed the towel each time so he wouldn't get any more poison onto his skin. When he seemed to be done vomiting, I gave him more water, half of a benadryl tablet, and soothed coconut oil onto his rashy back. He struggled most of the night since his seizures continued even through his sedation. In the morning I began giving him unflavored Pedialyte in the dropper to keep him hydrated. By noon he ate some canned chicken, but still would not drink on his own. He still had not gone pee since the day before. I kept giving him the Pedialyte every hour or so, along with half a benadryl every 6 hours to keep him calm. Today is the third day since the poisoning, finally he has been able to pee, and he is much better, though he still wants to lay around most of the time and has about one seizure every few minutes. This is a great improvement from the first day, when his seizures were non-stop.
Tomorrow is Monday, so I will be taking him to the vet first thing. From what I've read online, however, most deaths took place within 3 days, so hopefully we will be past the danger period by then. I have used this product on my other dogs also, with no side effects, but since it's obviously possible for the pet to silently reach a toxicity level before anyone notices a problem, I will definitely NEVER apply this poison again to any of my pets. The skeptics and the companies themselves will probably say it was just a fluke or maybe something else was responsible for the terrible reaction (that has been the pattern, actually). To them I say, do your homework.
Good luck to all pet owners and the animals who depend on them to keep them safe. I hope my story can save a life or better yet, prevent a poisoning from happening in the first place.
SPREAD THE WORD!
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