The Not-So-Fun Foxtails

Taking your dog on a walk is a great way to spend time with them. It is not without risk at times, though. For example, take the dreaded foxtail. The foxtail plant is often found in areas where wild grasses grow. Their seeds appear to be small barbed structures. These seeds have the capacity to burrow into your dog. They are most dangerous when they burrow into the eyes, ears, mouth, or nose.

These tiny seeds can create a huge amount of damage with your dog. If they are not treated, they can cause serious abscesses and infections on the outside and inside of your dog. Watch out for these major symptoms in your dog:

  • In the nose: If your dog inhales a foxtail, they may have a sudden onset of sneezing. This is, at times, accompanied by a little blood being discharged from their nostril.
  • In the mouth: If your dog inhales the foxtails through their mouth, they may start coughing and hacking suddenly.
  • In the eyes: If your dog gets one in their eye, it can cause redness, swelling, and discharge.
  • In the ear: If your dog gets foxtails in their ears, they may scratch their ears and shake their heads continually.
  • On the foot or paw: Foxtails are known to lodge between the toes where they are hard to remove. Check there if your dog starts to chew at their foot.

Of course the best way to guard against foxtails is to prevent them in the first place. The best way to do this is by avoiding grassy areas. If you do walk through an area with foxtails, check over your dog thoroughly after your walk is over.

Foxtails can be difficult to remove, especially when they are lodged in the mouth, nose, eyes, or ears. If you are not able to remove them yourself, or you fear they may be too far in to get to, your best course of action is to seek help from your veterinarian. They will be able to remove them and get your dog back to health.



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