San Bruno Pet Hospital 1111 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066
Phone: (650) 583-5039
Fax: (650) 763-8620

Hospital Hours
M-F: 7:30a-6p
Sat: 8a-5p
Appointment Hours
M-F 8:30a-5:30p
Sat: 8:30a-4:30p

After Hours Emergency
Emergency Clinic

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NOTE: These are offered
as general information
only and NOT a substitute
for a visit to your
veterinarian. If you feel
that your pet has a
problem that may require
urgent attention
call us at (650) 583-5039
immediately. If after hours,
contact the emergency
clinic (650) 348-2575.
What are Foxtails and What Threat Do They
Pose to Your Pet?

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call San Bruno Pet -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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:
  1. 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.
  2. Ears: The dog will shake his head, scratch his ears, and the ear will be painful.
  3. Eyes: You will see redness, squinting, swelling, and discharge.
  4. Vagina or penis: Your dog may lick these areas constantly, and you may see discharge or swelling.
  5. Between the paws, or other parts of the body: You may see limping, redness, and swelling.
If you see any of these signs, seek veterinary care immediately. Unless caught early, foxtails either form an abscess or migrate through the body causing infection and tissue damage.

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