How can grass seeds cause problems?

Animals with injuries caused by grass seeds is an extremely common seasonal problem. Breeds with hairy ears and hairy feet are more at risk if walked in meadows or woodlands where these grasses grow in abundance.  When examined closely, dry Foxtail grass seeds resemble tiny arrowheads. This enables them to attach themselves easily to an animal’s fur and burrow into the skin of that victim’s body part.

Where do grass seeds commonly affect?

The two most common places an animal  will be affected are the foot and the ear, although other places on your pet’s body can be at risk too. Grass seeds get in between the toes,  attaching themselves to the surrounding fur and travelling towards the foot itself and penetrating the thin skin with ease.  It then starts to burrow deep into the sensitive tissues of the foot resulting in extreme pain, discomfort, infection and sudden onset (acute) lameness.

The second most common place for these seeds to cause problems is the ear canal, their uni-directional nature and shape allows the grass seed to work their way from the fur around the ears down along the ear canal, and finally resting right up against the delicate ear drum.

How can I tell that my pet has been affected by grass seeds?

Obvious signs to look out for are vigorous head shaking and licking of paws. If you notice these signs call The Pet Vet straight away for diagnosis and treatment.

What treatment is available for animals  that have been affected by grass seeds?

Finding the exact location is often tricky and involves searching around the suspected area using large tweezers.  There will be a hole where the seed entered the skin but sometimes a further hole will be found where the grass seed has exited.

If it is the ear that is affected, the vet will examine the ear to confirm the diagnosis and remove the grass seed with tweezers. Occasionally, animals may need to be sedated dependent on levels of pain.

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