If your pooch is a lover of running through long grass, it is important to check them for grass seeds afterward. Grass seeds? YES, they may look harmless but in the wrong place, they become harmful…
What are grass seeds and how can they be harmful to our dogs?
Grass seeds are small, pointed seeds that are attached to the tops of long grass stalks. They are commonly found in grasslands and woodlands during the summer months, and they are a problem for dogs as they brush off into their fur during walks.
Grass seeds have extremely sharp ends, although they are tiny they easily become trapped in your dog’s fur and burrow down and pierce their skin. These pesky seeds can also get stuck in your dog’s paws, ears, eyes, and nose, which can be painful for your dog.
Sometimes grass seeds can go under the skin and travel to other areas of your dog’s body, such as their chest. Once they get under the skin, they can become very difficult to find.
Always check your dog’s feet and ears for grass seeds after exercise, mostly after walking through areas with long grass.
What Are The Symptoms?
If your dog has grass seed in their ear, you will see excessive scratching, or shaking of its head.
If left unnoticed the seed will cause irritation to the ear canal and may cause an ear infection if present for too long. If there is a secondary infection in the ear you may see some discharge.
If your dog has grass seed stuck behind their eyelid, they are most likely to develop a painful, weepy eye.
Eyes can be severely damaged by grass seeds. A seed stuck in the eye is painful, ultimately if not found early your dog could potentially lose their eye if the grass seed works its way too deeply.
If your dog has grass seed stuck up its nose, you will notice excessive or violent sneezing, an unpleasant smell, and discharge from the nose.
A grass seed that manages to work its way to the lungs is a serious matter and could be life-threatening.
If your dog has grass seed embedded in its paws you will see signs of lameness or discomfort when your pet is walking. They may also lick the area and show signs of pain.
You may see the hole in your dog’s skin where it has penetrated and gone inside the foot, you may see some discharge there too!
What are the treatments?
If your dog has grass seed in their ear, we may be able to see and remove it by looking down the eardrum with a special instrument called an otoscope. However, if the ear is too painful or the grass seed is deep in the ear canal, your dog will need sedation to help them relax whilst we remove the grass seed.
Digital Otoscopy is a new innovative treatment, which allows us to effectively visualise the eardrum and retain foreign bodies, such as grass seeds with more accuracy than ever before.
Your dog will need a local anaesthetic, sedation, or general anaesthetic to have it removed. We will also check the surface of your dog’s eye to make sure the seed hasn’t caused any damage such as a corneal ulcer.
Grass seeds can be removed with crocodile forceps, providing they are easy to reach, however, if they are located deeper into the nostril, they will require a Rhinoscopy. This involves a special nasal scope to see the inside of the nasal passages more accurately and enable us to remove the grass seed more effectively.
Finding grass seeds in your dog’s paw can be difficult as they often make their way under the skin and can cause a cyst and swelling between the toes. If the grass seed is just beneath the skin, we can remove it whilst your dog is awake but it’s more than likely it will need to be surgically removed to find it.
Case Study: Meet Puzzle
Puzzle the beautiful labrador came to visit us as he was constantly sneezing and his owners were worried something was stuck up his nose. We recommended a Rhinoscopy, which is a special diagnostic tool to examine the nasal passageway and visualise it on a monitor to accurately locate the foreign body and remove it.
Gary takes a look into Puzzle’s nasal passage using a Rhinoscope.
Grass seed was found and removed
Demonstrating the size of the grass seed, poor Puzzle!
All clear and Puzzle feels so much better!
Thanks for reading, until next time…