Pose to Your Pet?
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Foxtails are a tall grass-like weed. They are found more commonly during the summer and fall (May-Dec), when the grass is dry. The seeds can work their way into any tissue of the dogs body, mostly inside the nose, ears, eyes, genitals, and in between the toes. The embedded foxtail will cause severe irritation and infection, and if left untreated could become life threatening.
Signs to watch out for:
Symptoms vary based on location in the body. Usually it is difficult to see the foxtail itself, but these signs should raise your suspicion:
- Nose: If your dog inhaled a foxtail he will have a series of very frequent and violent sneezes. You may also see bloody or mucoid discharge.
- Ears: The dog will shake his head, scratch his ears, and the ear will be painful.
- Eyes: You will see redness, squinting, swelling, and discharge.
- Vagina or penis: Your dog may lick these areas constantly, and you may see discharge or swelling.
- Between the paws, or other parts of the body: You may see limping, redness, and swelling.
Examine your dog's coat after every walk, check carefully the paws and ears. Try to avoid taking your dog to overgrown grassy areas in the summer time. Pull out any foxtail plants you find in your own yard and dispose of the plant and seeds.Ideally, this is done before the plant dries and releases the seeds. Weed whacking just disperses the seeds and is not recommended.
By Dr. Yael Blass, DVM, San Bruno Pet Hospital