Spring has sprung, the weather is warmer, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are chirping. We’re outside enjoying the sun more – but there’s a hidden danger that comes along with spring, and it hides amongst the lush green fields our dogs love to play in; grass seeds.
Grass seeds are a huge problem for our furry friends, detaching from long grass stems and brushing off onto your dog while on walks. Their pointy, sharp ends can become trapped in fur and paws and can burrow down into the skin and travel to other parts of the body. They can be inhaled into the respiratory tract, or end up in chest cavities and ears, or even behind the eyes, leading to very difficult searching procedures.
One recent victim to the grass seeds epidemic was sweet Luca, a Lagotto Romagnolo who came to us with a sore foot. His mum was quick to suggest a grass seed stuck between his back toes, as Luca is prone to getting them caught in his coat. Luca was put under a general anesthetic so we could properly explore the wound, and we found two holes. One, where the grass seed had entered, and another hole where it was trying to exit. The seed was successfully removed, and given to Luca’s family as a souvenir. It was the size of a $2 coin, very painful!
A few years ago, Luca had a close call with a grass seed found in his abdomen, which required emergency surgery to remove! These sharp little things may be small, but should definitely not be underestimated!
Just like how we should check for ticks after walks, we should also check our pets for grass seeds. Dogs with long coats – especially around their toes – are very prone to picking up just about everything when walking through bushy areas or long grass.
We should also keep our eyes open for painful swelling between our dog’s toes. Look for limping, or consistent licking. If seeds get in the ears, look for signs of head shaking, or pawing at the ear. Sudden violent sneezing could indicate inhalation of a grass seed.
Long-haired dogs can help minimise the risk of grass seeds being caught by keeping the fur behind their ears and on their feet nice and short.
Our resident groomer Casey from Adore the Paw is our recommendation for a personalised, Fear-Free grooming session at our clinic.