Thursday , September 24 2020
A warning is something you put on packaging that a person can see so that they can make a considered decision

Hidden Dangers In Zodiac Spot On Flea Control

How many times have you purchased a product, let's say a cleanser or a bug spray, and in big bold colours they display the various warning signs. Toxic, flammable, carcinogenic or whatever are in large enough type so there is no way that you're going to be able to miss it.

Or how about when you get a prescription you've never had before. The pharmacist, if he or she is any good, ensures that you know all possible contradictions and their symptoms. In fact most of them even provide a print out with which once you read you wonder if the stuff is going to kill you before it cures you, but at least you know what could go wrong.

Then of course there is now the grocery store where more and more packaging are carrying not only a products' nutritional value, but lists it's potential for allergies as well as any foods it might have come into contact with that could cause an allergic reaction. In fact everywhere you go you can see health warnings on the outside chance that something could harm you.

Whether it's because companies are terrified of being sued, new government regulations, or simple decency it doesn't matter. These warnings are now accepted as course and you expect to see them. The days of having to make use of magnifying products or having to pore over acres of small print in order to find out what exactly it is you're using or eating are long gone.

At least I thought they were, or maybe what applies to humans doesn't apply to pet products. That's always possible seeing as what's been going on with cat and dog food recently and other feeds in the past that have been discovered to be deadly. Heck mad cow disease was first started by adding sheep brains to cow feed, because the illness actually forms in sheep not cows.

Every spring I usually treat my cats with Revolution Blue, a medication I buy from my vets that gets rid of fleas, ear mites and other insects that bother them. They are indoor cats so that's all they usually need. Revolution is a great product that's easy to use, as you just squeeze a small tube's contents into the space between your pet's shoulder blades and it takes care of the rest. I think the natural oils in the cat's hair carries it around the body.
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With our vet moving beyond comfortable walking distance I haven't been able to get out to pick up the medication for my cats in a couple of years but they'd been fine anyway so it hadn't seemed to matter. This year thought they started to display symptoms that they might be picking up mites or fleas; they can come in on my wife or I, if we have been around an animal that has them, easily enough.

So I went to a reputable pet store and bought Zodiac Spot On Flea Control for Cats and Kittens which promises to kill flea eggs in the animal's fur. You apply it just like the Revolution. So we did this on Saturday to all four of our cats.
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By Sunday one of them was sporting a bald spot between his shoulder blades. Although we had noticed that it had aggravated them when we had put the medication on their shoulders for a little while after, we didn't make any connection between what was happening with him and the Spot On until we noticed his skin where the hair had fallen out looked like it had been burned it was so bright red and weepy.
Pip closeup May 15th.jpg
His hair had fallen out in little clumps in that area, I found it lying in a cluster on the carpet. It wasn't like it had shed or anything because it wasn't loose hairs, you could see it formed into clumps with the roots and everything. He's a shorthaired cat so we've been able to monitor him closely now and it doesn't look like the damage is spreading any further.

But yesterday I was walking through the hall and found a pile of hair from another one of our cats. His hair is thicker with more layers so we hadn't known anything was wrong until it all just fell out in a clump. It was like he had rolled over onto his back like cats do and had left his hair behind him when he got up.

Even before that had happened we had begun to suspect the Spot On might have had something to do with it. I looked over the packaging and saw something that said what to do in the event of a problem with humans. But didn't see anything else on a scan. The type is very small and it had been hard enough trying to read the instructions for applying the material. I had had my glasses on that were what I used for reading normal sized type face and even smaller, but the type was not much bigger than this.

My wife went over the back of the packaging with a magnifying glass and finally found first aid instructions for cats. While the first aid instructions for humans had its own subject heading and started a paragraph – for the animals it began mid way through the paragraph on human first aid.

It was the only place that they actually used the word pesticide in the packaging. "Sensitivities may occur after using any pesticide for pets" They go on to say if sensitivity occurs wash your pet with mild soap and water, and rinse with large amounts of water. If it continues seek medical attention – taking the packaging and P.C.P. number with you.

Of our four cats only the two boys showed any signs of "sensitivity". Have you ever even thought about washing a cat, let alone a cat that's not in the best of moods? Neither of our boys are small either; the black one weighs in at around 25lbs and the grey one is about fifteen but is affectionately known by the vets as "live wire" for the difficulty involved with taking his temperature (I've worn him as a hat with a thermometer hanging out of his butt when he was a kitten)

Nowhere on the packaging is there any warning that this stuff may have an adverse effect on the animal except in this first aid treatment area hidden away in small print. By then it's too late to decide that you don't want to risk your animal's health by rubbing something potentially dangerous into his or her skin. The last thing you want when you think you've done something good for your pet is to see its hair start falling out in clumps

A warning is something you put on packaging that a person can see so that they can make a considered decision. It's not something you bury in small print under first aide treatment. Especially when earlier on they tell you to make sure not to let the pet take the medication internally, or to keep it away from their eyes and genitalia. You'll think that the first aid treatment is for that eventuality– not in the event of something happening they haven't warned you about.

They don't even tell you what form the sensitivity could take. When do we need to seek help from a veterinarian? When all their hair falls out, when a little clump of hair falls out, when their skin turns pink, or when their hair takes on the texture of someone who’s done one too many home permanents and burnt their hair so that it feels like straw?

Wellmark International, formally known as Zoecon is the manufacturer of this and other insecticides that are used for everything from mosquito larvae control to the fleas on your pet. In a world where we are gradually starting to ban pesticides for their known toxicity and dangers to the planet, don't you think that a company that provides products to consumers that contains those toxins should be forced to warn them properly?

What would it cost them to print in legible lettering on the front of the package something to the effect of: Some animals have more sensitive skin than others – your cat may not be right for this product. Is that too hard? Think of all good will that would generate, and all the ill feelings it would prevent.

I bought Zodiac Spot On as an attempt to provide my cats some relief from a problem and have ended up causing them to develop problems. There is something wrong with that equation. That needs to change.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of two books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion". Aside from Blogcritics his work has appeared around the world in publications like the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and the multilingual web site Qantara.de. He has been writing for Blogcritics.org since 2005 and has published around 1900 articles at the site.

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40 comments

  1. I recently put the zodiac spot on treatment on my dog, and noticed she was very irritated by it for about 48 hours. A few days later, I noticed a large, rough, hard patch on her skin where I had applied the treatment. It looks awful, but she doesn’t seem to be bothered by it anymore. I’m concerned, and definitely won’t be using the treatment again. I guess it’s back to the expensive sentinel!

  2. Thanks for sharing this info ….I have a package of it here …I will just throw in the garbage!!!

    • Bring back for refund even if one tube of three is used petstores still will refund your money or at least give u gift card for credit for another product in their store.

  3. I have a large kennel and am always looking for a more economical way to provide coverage. After reading this extremely lengthy comment, it appears that his complaint is that the warning about sensitivity should be in larger type. There are regulations that monitor type size and ingredients in products. It is the CONSUMER’S responsibility to read packaging (even if you require a magnifying glass) before you choose to buy it. Sorry, no sympathy here. Also, whoever chooses to throw away a product based on a comment on this (or any site) is just throwing away their money. If you decide you don’t want to use it after you purchase it….return it. (that’s just me, I don’t tend to over react and I value every penny I have)
    I worked in preparing packaging design and am familiar with the regulations required. We have to have packaging approved. Statements about possible reactions to the product are required to be in a certain type size per package.

    Again…just my thoughts. Bottom line…buyer beware.

    • What products do you use for flea treatment and prevention?
      As a kennel operator we’d love to hear about your experience with this product or any of zodiacs products or just the products you use ? Thank you want to see what you use as your a kennel operator

  4. I recently sprayed the Zodiac spray on my cat…like I was instructed. Not only did my nail polish come off on her, but the day after, my cat’s fur not only looks and feels greasy…has started to fall out!!! I gave her a bath to wash away the product! Never again will I use something like this! The smell was pretty overpowering too!

  5. I applied Advantage II to all seven of my cats on Sunday. This morning (Wednesday) one of my cats went into seizures, lost control of his bladder and bowels, began gasping for air, and died while being rushed to the vet. This was a previously healthy one year old cat with no medical conditions. He was properly dosed according to package directions. However, he likely ingested enough of the toxin by repeatedly grooming the other cats over a couple of days that it killed him. There is no warning about nor instructions for using this product in a multiple cat household.

  6. We put zodiac spot-on 11 on our 1 year old cat Gaston the day before yesterday. He was properly dosed according to package directions. We went to the vet. yesterday, (after I read all of the comments on this blog) because of a bit of some loss of balance. The vet. told us to never use this product again, gave him a shot of anti-poison and told us to wash Gaston with water and that every thing would certainly be ok. WRONG!!! We heard our cat have seizures this morning, we called another vet., the 24h vet. and he told us the same thing, that this product was toxic and that our cat was in deed dying. Our cat died 15 minutes ago gasping for air! My boyfriend had to end his suffering. This product is toxic if injested but THEY’RE CATS, they will lick it untill satisfaction of clealiness! Don’t use this product even if people like Ann give you those comments (sorry Ann, no sympathy here for you)…. Very toxic and dangerous!!!

  7. I was hesitant, so I used a smaller amount on a cloth and pet them with it, and guess what?! The cats are JUST fine. they haven’t been sick, or lost hair, they are happy because they aren’t miserable scratching now. Animals get bugs and need something. I would use this over Advantage or Frontline anyday. want something natural? Give your pets regular baths, keep them indoors, and vacuum thoroughly weekly. Otherwise you’re out of luck.

    • I just spent $200 at the vet on my indoor cat after using zodiac spot on gave my cat hives.. Loss of hair and irritated skin.
      Spend the extra money on NOT giving your cat this product.
      You’re lucky your cat didn’t react like ours. This reaction happened after the second treatment so be careful when you’re reapplying.

  8. I recently used spot on by zodiac on my 5 year old male cat and for the last few days he has been sneezing blood and hopping around as if he is scared to walk. He also has been getting lost. After researching online and talking to my vet I have learned that this is a common problem with this product. Skin sensitivity is one thing but toxicity and neurological damage and death is another. DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT!

  9. satisfied consumer

    I have always been a lot leary of spot on products for cats because they are a poison . However I can say I have had great luck with the zodiac carpet and premise spray. I had a cat that was allergic to fleas. One bite and she was losing her hair on her entire body ,after spending large amounts of money at the vets on the products they recommended I bought the zodiac. I followed the directions and sprayed the whole house including the animal bedding. I also removed all pets and myself from the home for several hours, also as recommended. When I came back I opened all windows and aired out the house. The cat remained flea free for months in Texas and Florida. Something I thought was next to impossible. Was it some work, yes but worth it not to have to use a poison directly on my cat. I hate to see a company get a bad rap for one product when I had great results with a different product from that company. My advise weigh your options and find out from other people in your area what works for them. Do your research before you invest your money.

    • Charlotte L. Wilson

      I did use 2 doses of the Zodiac – no ill effects, but not nearly as good
      on flea control. I have 2 more doses, and weighing whether or not to
      use these up, and then switch to Frontline.

      I would also do the marathon vacuuming and spraying. Before the vacuuming, I’d crate up the cats, briefly, so I could get out a box of the 20-Mule Team Boraxo powder, and sprinkle all over the carpeting and bits on the cat trees. I’d work it into the carpet with a broom, as best I could, then put a small amount of Boraxo in the canister, before vacuuming (so the trapped fleas will dehydrate and expire, for safer disposal)

      It is VERY important to vacuum up every last speck of the powder, as – in rare cases – cats may find and lick the granules off the floor/carpet/ and can be given a toxic reaction (I want to say ‘salt toxicity’; usually just involving vomiting and some concern of dehydration, but sometimes serious enough to take the animal to a vet) Seriously, though, as long as you thoroughly vacuum everything up, it’s fine.

      We do this in conjunction with flea bathing and treating the cats (usually with Advantage). Before releasing though, I’ll spritz a flea control spray all over the carpets, cat trees & beds, and let completely dry, *then* let them loose – works like a charm! (y)

  10. Well.. I just bught this stuff for my cats… I’m not going to use it now. U ppl scared the shit out of me. I love my baby’s way to much… i got 7 of them.. 3 got out. Now they all have fleas. I’m trying so hard to get rid of them… but this is not worth it… I’ll just keep them shaved for awhile.

  11. O my gosh. Please do not buy Zodiac for your pets. I bought flea and tick control(Zodiac) for my dog. It hase been just over a week. He has got such a bad reaction, lost hair, irritated skin and chewing until blood is pouring out. Im trying everything and its so bad 🙁 im on disability and cant afford to help any more than the daily epsom salt and tea tree oil bath 4 hour walks and unfortunatly a cone. I cant even go to sleep because he can still reach his tail. It is so bad I may have to put him down..no lie. Im crying right now for my buddy. PLS DONT BUY THIS FOR YOUR PET. If you do try the tinyiest bit and see if they react. Any advice would be appreciated on how to help my friend.

    • Dawn dish soap baths n I used on my bby cockatiels so dawn is totally fine to use on dogs n birds n cats .if u also read comments this is first thing vets to a dawn soap bath .n follow up with animal oatmeal shampoo if any further baths are needed after sores gone .I’ve used polyisoprene triple antibiotic ointment on my dog pad on her paw from a dog bite she got it had half her pad gone by the attacker dog that hurt my baby
      Try to dress up any sores with a gauze pads and medical 3 mm
      Tape .

      • Also I’ve used zodiac shampoo n the spray formulas on my 3 dogs with no side affects. Maybe some animals are super sensitive to some products while others are fine to use the two zodiac products I mentioned above.I’ve never tried zodiac spot on so no comments on this formula.but cats you have to be super careful with what you feed and apply on them it could easily cost ur cats life so stick to sentinal or advantage from your vets please. Dogs are hit n miss so use your judgement as a pet parent and always read the labels on everything they eat or medical stuff or flea remedies .also I heard mix a tiny bit of tea tree oil in the pets normal petshampoos n it’s supposed to be safe but please research on poison control items not to use on pets .in closing safest bug remedies is dawn shampoo n after a week oatmeal pet shampoo n oatmeal conditioning safest shampoos to use on pets that are petshampoos.

  12. although i agree with some of the comments posted,i have noticed a thread-product was not purchased at a vet-all living creatures will have horror stories re pest control! when you use a chemical to get rid of pests,there is always a chance of side effeof my cats have had reactions!,i have heard over the years that zodiac does not work-fleas will always be around,and of course you dont want your pet to suffer-be aware vets are like doctors,in a way-prescription-ie expensive is supposed to be better! not totally true,just make your own decision-your pet will let you know..

  13. I have a very very sensitive dog! she shows allergic reactions to many medications (not only because she has the so called mdr1 defect) and food. And she is totally fine with the zodiac spot on – for almost 10 years! If ppl are not able to read the instructions firstly – sorry, nothing more to say.

  14. All I can say is my dog is still having reactions from this horrible product. Been whining scratching for days. He’s restless, irritable and going to vet tomorrow. Gave him benedril and baby aspirin. What a nightmare!

    • Omg baby aspirin or any human pain relievers are deadly to pets renal failure and liver damage

  15. P.S. I would rather use garlic pills or brewers yeast fr
    om now on. If you look at active ingredients, it is 45%, whereas Frontline is something like 15%. And it smells horrible, what did I do to my doggie?

    • Charlotte L. Wilson

      I know this is old, but do NOT give your animal garlic (or onion). The selenium in such is TOXIC to dogs and cats.

  16. We read the packaging and the warnings were similar to others out there. I used this on our Rag Doll after running out of Advantage.He had the same reaction as the others on this page. Hair fell out, looked like he had been burned. The area was raw and bloody. We washed him really well as soon as we noticed him acting strangely a day or so later. It took about a month to heal over and he now has a scar where it was applied. I can’t imagine how terrible that must have felt on his skin before we noticed his discomfort…OMG, Horrible, horrible stuff.

  17. Our 10 year old cat was killed buy Zodiac Spot-On. We applied to as directed and within 2 hours she had several seizures before we could get her to the emergency vet. By the next morning she had not stopped shaking and was in a coma. We had her put to sleep that morning, her brain and nervous system was destroyed.

    The mfg. answered their email and gave us a case number with instructions on how to “possibly” get reimbursement for the vet bills that topped $300+

    Please don’t use this product.

    • Larry Fine here. We sent all the vet paperwork to Zodiac and waited several months for reimbursement. After 4 months we get a canned letter saying it was not their fault and to pretty much go away. Oh but they did say in their letter that a refund check for the product was enclosed…of course there was no refund check in the envelope. Total and complete fail as a company.

  18. We have 2 dogs and put their third month and third application of Zodiak flea and tick drops on last week. The first two months it was applied neither had a reaction. This time within hours my Black Lab had tremors and couldn’t walk properly. We bathed him 3 times with dawn dish soap to remove it. It has taken over a week for him to eat, drink and go to the bathroom properly and he is now losing his hair from the poison. The next day after the third application on our Beagle/Lab/Boxer mix, she started screaming and running into the corners of the rooms. It appeared she was hallucinating and was lethargic as well as vomiting. Due to the neurological response already displayed by our Lab we washed the little one right away – twice with Dawn dish soap and she was INSTANTLY better. We were very surprised as they didn’t react the first two times, but it seems we either got a bad batch or possibly they didn’t need another dose yet (how could you know?) and perhaps were overdosed. We now must find an alternative as we will never put the drops or a poison collar on the pups again. So scary and we were so guilt ridden that we inflicted this unknowingly.

    • I applied half a dose on my 2.5 yr old 5lb mini poodles last night. This morning she was acting strange biting at her bum and having “ticks”…I washed her in a warm Dawn bath for 20 mins and dried her. When she got down she was walking and her bum and tail twisted to the right…I took her straight to the vet and they didn’t see it happen and sent her home 4hrs later. It’s happen twice more at home tonight. This product is awful for small dogs! I’m beside myself with worry and hope that the damage is not permanent! Thank you for sharing your story. How long did your dog’s symptoms last?

  19. I used zodiac spot on on my 8 year old cat and noticed a scab on her back where i applied she was also not eating for awhile and drinking water constantly, her body temperture seemed really low a couple of times and one night she was so cold and i nudged her as she sleeps with me and she didnt move i thought i had list her. Its been almost a month now and she seems to be eating better but still drinking a lot but she does seem to be feeling a bit better. We used the treatment as we had a stray hanging around and when we took the stray to the spca the vet tech there said this stuff is poison i would take your cat to the vet this was just today so im taking her to the vets tomorrow to make sure she has no damage done elsewhere. To the people who say they dont feel bad for people that have had issues i say your heartless and cold animals are dying over this shit it shouldnt be sold.

  20. About 6 months ago we discovered that our dog groomer would apply Zodiac at the same time she did their nails for about a 1/3 of the price of Frontline. A month or 2 later we noticed that 2 (the girls) of the 3 dogs have red, raw paws, one had oozing eyes, and the other was constantly shaking her head and scratching her ears. A vet visit confirmed infected paws, eye & ear infections and both were given steroid shots and drops. The symptoms cleared up for about 3 weeks, then came back again and this time worse. This time both girls required antibiotics and steroids. Vet again said- allergy- most likely to pollen or grass. The infection cleared up and again came back, even worse, now both dogs were dehydrated and lethargic, both required IV’s. Fast forward a few weeks, we went on a last minute vacation to the mountains and in doing so put off the groomer visit until we returned. While gone we noticed that both dogs were getting better. The day after we returned we took the dogs for their grooming (and Zodiac) and the next day, all the symptoms were back. We were not putting 2 and 2 together thinking we’re back- to the pollen and grass and so are the allergens. NOW I am wondering if the cause is actually the Zodiac. We’ve had the dogs for 4 years and never had an allergy problem before, we have always used the same dog food (and same back yard grass), the only difference is the Zodiac. So while I am not definitely saying its the Zodiac, we are going back to Frontline, and we’ll see if it clears up. Thanks for the info, at least we have a place to start.

  21. Does anyone know of any natural remedy to use as a flea control for dogs? We used Zodiac Powerspot on our 5 yr old bichon cross, 48 hrs ago. Since then, he has been jumping around worse than the fleas we were trying to rid him of. Constant scratching, in spots, he has scratched so hard he has caused open sores. He is constantly whining and pleading for a remedy. We have done all the allergy reaction suggestions; Benedryl, Aloe Vera Gel, washing him off, moisturizing his skin… nothing seems to be helping. This is the third time we have had a dog react to “recommended treatment”. We just about lost our Coton De Tulear due to a reaction to rabies vaccine, and three years later he had a bad response to Inceptor. After the two reactions we have been very hesitant to use any drugs or pesticides on our pets, but we had a flea infestation last year and felt we would prevent it this year. We really need a natural remedy to prevent a flea infestation on our dogs and in our home.

    • My cat did the same thing! Whining and pleading to leave a bedroom he is otherwise used to sleeping in at night. I used Zodiac on my cat May 1st. He’s doing much better a week later. The vet did a Dawn Dish Soap bath on him and that worked, plus I just applied Advantage to the back of his neck today. So with any hope, that should work

  22. On Friday, May 1st I applied Zodiac Spot-On to the back of my 2 year old cat’s neck as instructed. That day he became very vocal/whining. Didnt want to sleep in his bedroom(technically it’s mine). As the weekend went on, he got confused, lethargic, and lost fur on the area it was applied to. Saturday I noticed he was sleeping next to his litter box all night, then Sunday I came home from church to find him sleeping in the kitty litter. I knew then he was going to the vet the next day. He had his appetite and drank water so I wasnt too worried on that aspect. When I took him to the vet, I told them I applied that stuff, and right away the doctor said it was the zodiac. Just to be on the safe side, I asked for a blood work and a full body exam and everything came back normal, except hes anemic from the fleas biting him. They gave him a dawn dish soap bath which helped kill the fleas, and gave me Advantage to applied to him. As of today I applied Advantage and he is being perfectly fine, and snoring on me. He has his personality back which I am happy about. Now it’s time to really kill some fleas. Good luck to all who are going through this! It was a scary weekend for me and my cat!

  23. THIS PRODUCT IS HARMFUL TO CATS!!!! I applied this product to my 2 cats and my dog. The dog fine. My cats however are suffering awful side effects, the most major effect is LETHARGY! ! They lay limp. I washed them with soap and water. 24 hrs later still lethargic. Paw ticking has stopped. I cannot imagine using this on kittens! My cats are full grown!! It killed the fleas on the cats but I will choose alternative treatment before subjecting them to this stuff again. They are pitiful and heartbreaking.

  24. Are there any bad effects for the Shmpoo? I used it on my cat and after reading these things I am freaking out. Nothing bad has happened yet and I hope nothing will but until then I am scared

  25. I bought Zodiac carpet powder and tick and flea spray. Within minutes my 22 week old kitten was crying, falling down and couldn’t walk. She went limp. Took her to the 24 hour vet and it was the pyrethrins. My vet gave her a dawn bath, fluids and medicine for tremors. She didn’t eat and was lethargic for days.. THIS PRODUCT SHOULDN’T BE USED ON CATS OR KITTENS. It is terrifying. I wouldn’t even chance it!!

  26. I used this product too, much to my dismay and my 8 month old Rottweiler developed the same thing, oozing red sores and massive hair loss in the area I applied the spot on lotion. I have been in contact with the company regarding this and all they keep saying is contact the ASPCA and their vets, blah, blah, blah. I am so upset with myself that I purchased this poison instead of my regular vet prescribed Sentinel. It has been 4 weeks since I used it on her and her fur is not growing back and still looks “burned”. I am absolutely heartbroken that I put my puppy through this. I feel like an idiot.