In the spring and summer the grass and weeds can become an allergy nuisance for humans but for pets it can be life threatening. A foxtail is part of the stalk of grass. It is pointed at one end and could easily be inhaled up a dog’s nose. The foxtail is in most yards on the Hawaiian Islands that have grasses. The grass looks good when it is cut but when it is too tall the foxtails appear.
An imbeddeded foxtail can be fatal if not removed immediately. The foxtail can travel up into the sinus cavity or worse.
Several years ago my dog, Buddy inhaled a foxtail. He sneezed uncontrollably and I freaked out. I called the vet and on the drive to the vet he sneezed it out. He was fine and I was a relieved dog parent for him; not to mention the relief of not having a high vet bill.
These nasty foxtails also burrow in-between the dog’s toes. They will burrow there and travel and spotting them on a light colored dog is daunting. My Irish Setter who passed away many years ago had an infected foot from a foxtail that I did not catch right away. She had to have surgery and they had to cut her arm open half way up her leg because it had traveled that far. I felt terrible because I would have checked if I had known to do so.
It is crucial to check EVERY time you have had your dog out near these grasses. I have a golden retriever and the foxtails blend in with his hair. Every night and I mean every night…no exceptions, he gets a full body check; ears, toes, along every inch of him because I learned the hard way that the foxtails can burrow anywhere. He had one in his back under his fur once. It felt like a small lump but I caught it right away.
Some folks might consider me over cautious but the foxtails only travel in one direction once they get into the animals flesh. Yes, they travel inside and anywhere including into the brain and other organs. Sounds gross, but imagine how terrible your pet will feel if you neglect to so a simple check. Besides you bond with your pet when you give it physical contact. If your animal is pawing its eye or ear…take a look. If it continues call the VET. If the animal gets a foxtail injury and infection it can be treated with antibiotics.
When I am out walking and I get a foxtail in my sock it hurts. Imagine a pet having to suffer. There are pet owners out there that do not care for their dogs and you know who you are, your friends and neighbors know who you are. Owning a pet is a privilege and a gift. They depend on you for everything. This spring and summer give your pet another reason to love you by checking for foxtails. Tell your friends and cut down the tall grass. Say no to foxtails.
Cats can get them too and other hairy pets that play on the grass. Check your pet’s ears, feet and body daily. It only takes a few minutes to prevent a bad day for you and your pet. Mahalo. If you like this article and would like to have them delivered to your email, just hit the SUBSCRIBE button above this article. If you have story ideas or pet photos send them to me. Aloha.