Learning About This Innocent-Looking Plant Could Save Your Dog’s Life
Next time you go for a walk in the park with your dog, be extra vigilant. Veterinarians are warning that a seemingly innocent-looking plant called foxtail grass is actually quite harmful to dogs. The seeds get stuck in dogs’ ears, noses, feet, and fur, potentially leading to permanent damage and even death. Foxtail grass is a long, thin, grass-like weed found mostly in the Western half of the United States. It generally grows throughout the summer. The weed looks very much like many other long grasses or reeds, and so can be difficult to identify. Even so, the damage foxtails cause can be anything but invisible.
Foxtails have spiny seed heads that get caught in dogs’ fur and eventually burrow their way into your pup. While this mechanism helps the plant seed itself into the soil if the seed drops on the ground, if a seed head finds its way onto your pet’s body the results can be dangerous. The seeds don’t break down and keep tunneling into ear canals, nostrils, and will even continue on through the skin until they reach the brain, lungs, or spine, creating inflammation, abscesses, and other emergency situations that might require surgery. The most common areas foxtail seeds can burrow are in dogs’ ears, especially if the dog has long hair; between dogs’ toes; in their eyes; and in their noses. Because of the difficulty identifying foxtails, vets are urging pet owners to be proactive and check their dogs regularly for seeds after romps in the grass as well as to make sure to shave long-haired dogs regularly. If you notice any discharge and swelling, or if your dog is limping and scratching in or around the common seeding areas, you should take your pet to a veterinarian. Persistent sneezing is also often a sign that a foxtail seed is stuck in a dog’s nose. If you do find a foxtail seed in your routine examination, take it out with tweezers if you can. If the seed is embedded deeply or has inflamed the surrounding skin, make sure to give your vet a call. Also consider checking for and pulling out foxtail grass from your yard, and keeping your dog from running in tall grassy areas during the summer. We always want to take good care of our dogs! Please SHARE this article with dog owners and dog lovers to spread the word about foxtail seeds! It could help keep a dog you love from danger.
(H/T: American Web Media)
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