A long walk with your dog is one of the pleasures of summer, but pesky grass seeds can prove a real problem at this time of year.
The type of seeds that cause problems are those shaped like a little dart – the bristly fibres allow them to cling onto your dog’s hair, and the pointed end can work its way into all sorts of places! The most common problem regions are in between the toes, and down the ear canal. However we have also removed seeds from behind the third eyelid, up the nose, and under the skin in many different parts of the dog. Once into the body the seeds can migrate a long way.
So what to look for? Grass seeds that have penetrated the skin tend to cause a very tender swelling, with a small fistula or hole in the centre. The affected dog will often lick constantly at the region, trying to get the seed out. A seed in the ear causes intense irritation, pain and head-shaking.
If treated promptly, and the patient is cooperative we may be able to remove the seed using local anaesthetic. However, in the majority of cases sedation or general anaesthetic is necessary.
Prevention is key when it comes to grass seeds. If possible, avoid grassy fields and areas with long mature grass. Check your dog’s coat on a regular basis to remove seeds before they cause a problem. Trimming the hair short around the feet and ears makes spotting and removing seeds an easier task with long/heavy coated breeds. Our professional groomer Amy can help with this.