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Grass Seeds & Dogs

12th Jun 2019

At this time of year we frequently see injuries caused by grass seeds. Grass seeds are shaped like arrows and easily become attached to a dog’s fur. They then can work their way through a dog’s soft tissue and become lodged.

The most common place we see grass seeds are in the foot – typically between the toes. This will result in acute lameness and pain. An infected swelling may also be seen on the foot. The other place we commonly find grass seeds are in the ears, eyes, nose and skin.

 

How will I know my dog is affected?

Contact us if you have been walking in a grassy area and your dog suddenly starts shaking his head, licking his paws, sneezing or suddenly develops a sore eye.

 

What will happen if my dog gets a grass seed?

  • The grass seed will need to removed. If left, your dog could develop a nasty and painful infection. Furthermore, it could track to a distant site around the body. It is not uncommon for a seed to travel from the foot, right up the leg and cause a swelling on the body months down the line.
  • If the grass seed has not penetrated far, sometimes it can be removed consciously from a foot or eye with forceps. More often, due to their painful nature, we have to resort to surgical removal under a general anaesthetic.
  • Grass seeds do not show up on x-rays so it can be very difficult to find them. Sometimes the grass seed will have already tracked right through the foot (through a sinus) and will have already come out again.

 

How can I help prevent grass seeds?

  • Breeds with hairy ears and feet are at higher risk. You may choose to avoid long grass at this time of year, sticking to short lawn type grass, paths or the beach.
  • Keep long coats clipped short, especially around the feet, in between the toes, arm-pits and ears. This way, they can be more easily spotted and there is less fur for the grass seed to attach itself too.
  • Check your dog for grass seeds when you return from a walk and remove any that are sticking to the fur. They may be quite small; a fine toothed brush can help find them.

 

* Please pass this information onto other dog owners who may not be aware of the risk that grass seed can pose. *

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