|How are your dog's ears?|
Grass seeds in dogs
Injuries caused by grass seeds are an extremely common seasonal problem in the summer months. Breeds with hairy ears and hairy feet are more at risk. Keeping the hair short and avoiding walks in long grass may help preventing this problem. Grass seeds have a unique design. Dry Foxtail grass seeds resemble tiny arrowheads. This enables them to attach themselves easily to an animal's fur and burrow into the skin.
The two most common places where grass seeds enter a dog’s body are the foot and the ear. Grass seeds commonly attach to the surrounding soft feathery fur between the toes, before penetrating the skin and burrowing deeper into the highly sensitive tissues of the foot resulting in extreme pain, discomfort, infection and sudden onset (acute) lameness.
In the ear, their unique shape allows the grass seed to work its way down the ear canal, where they generally come to rest right up against the delicate ear drum.
How can I tell that my dog has been affected by grass seeds?
Your dog may shake its head and vigorously lick its paws. They may also look uncomfortable, lethargic and in pain. If you notice any of the above signs - then call your vet straightaway for the most successful treatment outcomes.
What treatment is available for dogs that have been affected by grass seeds?
Your vet may try looking for the grass seed with a specially designed pair of tweezers. Grass seeds are made from vegetable matter and they are invisible on x-ray (unlike bone or metal) so their exact location within the paw is usually a mystery.
Your vet will need to examine the ear canal if a grass seed is suspected there. Most dogs need sedation or general anesthetic as they are in too much pain to allow examination and safe removal.