One of the conditions we see regularly is dogs suffering with grass seeds. These seeds can get into any crack or crevice and can make the area sore until they are removed. The most common places we find them are between the toes, in the nose, ears and behind eyelids.
The worst seeds are those that are like small darts with a sharp point & long tail. These can prick the skin and cause a swelling. If they are not removed immediately they can start to move around under the skin and cause further problems.
How can you tell if your pet has a grass seed?
Some pets are more tolerant to them than others, and whilst some may seem unfazed by them, other will run around shaking the affected area trying to dislodge it. If your dog comes out of a field sneezing or has a sore eye then you need to be concerned. When they are in the paw they can be very painful & can lead to infection and onset of lameness. Not finding the seed can result in them travelling to another part of the body causing more, and often more serious problems. Often this can be noticed through lack of appetite, feeling unwell & miserable, difficulty breathing or sores that won’t heal. Any of these symptoms are a definite sign that you need to get straight to your vet.
How to prevent grass seeds
Try not to let your dog run around in areas where there is long grass. If your dog will allow it, put something like old tights over their feet or head. After a walk brush their coat thoroughly and check the places where they are often to be found. Keeping your dog well groomed and their coat clipped will make it easier to spot the seeds and any sore patches or discharge.
If a seed has worked its way under the skin it may be that your vet will have to perform an operation to remove it. Actually finding the seed can often be difficult as they are vegetable matter and don’t readily show up on xrays. A general anaesthetic may be required as the area is to sensitive for the vet to access with the patient awake. Difficulty in finding and removing the seed can result in a large bill and is another reason why insurance is recommended.
Another place the seeds regularly get into is the ear canal and the most common sign of this is the violent shaking of the head. The further it goes into the ear, the more difficult it can be to get out & the seeds can work their way through the body from here. A vet will use an auroscope and alligator forceps if it is not in too deep.
Grass seeds are the greatest problem in summer & autumn. Keeping your dogs coat trimmed short – particularly around the paws, armpits, groin & ears will help. Always check these areas thoroughly if you have been for a walk where grass seeds were present. If you notice a grass seed embedded get it dealt with straight away to prevent it becoming more serious. Avoid areas with dart like grass seeds.
If you have questions regarding this please contact us at the clinic or leave a post on our Facebook page