It’s that time of year where grass seeds are becoming a problem. They cling to your dog’s coat with their bristly fibres, and their pointed shape makes it easy for them to dive deeper and deeper. Shaped like darts, once they pierce the skin they can’t get out so push their way forward.
Grass seeds can often lead to sedation and surgery of the patient for removal. They can enter the ears, eyes, nose and burrow their way between the toes, resulting in severe pain, inflammation and infection.
One particularly memorable patient several years ago had been running through a field when grass seeds became imbedded into the back of his mouth. Some had made their way into his windpipe causing difficulty breathing. He had to have a tracheostomy tube placed to help him breathe whilst we removed them all. Luckily, he was brought in swiftly and made a full recovery.
What are the symptoms?
Ears – itching, shaking of the head, or rubbing their head along the floor. Sometimes they can develop a head tilt.
Eyes – any irritation around the eye can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. You may notice a redness, watery discharge, or even the eye closing. Grass seeds can cause serious long-term problems including blindness.
Nose – Sneezing, rubbing and possibly a discharge may indicate there’s a grass seed lodged.
Skin – persistent chewing, licking or attempting to itch an area can indicate a foreign body.
Mouth – Grass seeds can become lodged in the throat, causing inflammation and swelling. Coughing, attempting to vomit or refusal to eat can all be symptoms.
Prevention is always better than cure we would recommend;
- If possible preventing your dog from entering grassy fields, and walking in woodland or pathways where seeds are less likely to be present.
- Always check your pet’s feet, ears, eyes and coat (particularly armpits) after every walk.
- Also having your dog clipped short particularly around the feet, ears and armpits will help reduce the seeds ability to cling on and if they do it will make it easier for you spot and remove seeds.
Any concerns or symptoms then please don’t hesitate to see your vet.