Roxy Taylor and the dangers of grass seeds

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.

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Recently Roxy arrived at Cherrydown and she wasn’t very well.  The following paragraphs are written by our Head Vet, Jonathan Nurse, who looked after her. You may also see this story published in the Basildon Echo.

Roxy presented with a large swelling on the underside of her neck. She was also drooling blood stained saliva. Examination of her mouth revealed a puncture wound under her tongue and we were concerned that she may have a foreign body that had migrated from her mouth down her neck.  We hoped this was not the case and treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, the lump returned when the antibiotics stopped and it was clear that a foreign body was present.

Surgical exploration of the neck is potentially very dangerous due to all the vital structures present. Fortunately, the surgery went well and a large grass seed was found embedded in Roxy’s neck, very close to her jugular vein.

Grass seeds are a common problem in dogs in the summer. Due to their shape, they can work their way into any part of the dog’s body. Most commonly we seem them in ears and feet. Grass seeds in ears cause intense irritation manifest as frantic head shaking and scratching at the ear. Prompt examination under sedation usually enables simple removal. This is difficult to do consciously because they are often very close to the ear drum and removal can be very painful.

Grass seeds in feet present with swellings in between the toes that are very irritating for the dog. Surgical exploration is needed to find them and this can be very frustrating because they can be very difficult to find. More unusual places I have removed grass seeds from are noses and eyes. One case that I will always remember is one that migrated into a dogs chest and required major surgery to remove.

During the summer we will see several cases every week. It is very difficult to avoid grass seeds because they are found wherever grass grows including pavements and verges

For further information about grass seeds take a look at our blog HERE. If you have any questions about this subject please give is a call at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you

Remember, if you suspect your dog has a grass seed, seek  veterinary attention quickly because early removal is the key to successful treatment