We are all very pleased summer is coming, with longer and warmer days now with us. If you are a hay fever sufferer you are also probably aware of the grasses growing. This cannot only be a problem for us but also for our dogs and cats.
As a vet you either love Grass Seed Season or hate it!
Grass seeds have a pointy end and often awns which once they anchor into your pets coat continue to work their way through the skin. Once they enter the skin they can cause a lot of discomfort as your pet tries to lick the area. This then contributes to infection. Often we see dogs with swellings between their toes, very inflamed and painful. They can often show signs of lameness with these swellings. Some owners are lucky and notice the end of the grass seed so remove it before it becomes a problem.
The concern with grass seeds are they can continue to work their way through the soft tissue some moving as far as up the leg of the dog, others have been known to be inhaled and then penetrate through the lung and on occasion emerge through the chest wall – of course these are extreme examples.
Cats unfortunately don’t escape especially as they often enjoy hunting through the long grass. Grass seeds can become trapped behind their 3rd eyelids or even be inhaled and pieces of grass get caught at the back of the throat.
The treatment depends on where the grass seed is, often if it is within the foot it can involve sedation to be able to explore the foot completely and remove the grass seed. The frustration comes when the grass seed has already come out but the infection has been left behind. A reason why some vets love them or hate them is the feeling of euphoria when a grass seed is found but reasons to dread them is when you can’t find one but are still so suspicious it is there! It calls for owners to be very understanding and patient. If you notice any swellings between your dogs toes or are concerned at all please contact your local Swayne & partners branch surgery, our vets are more than happy to discuss your worries with you.
Our aim is to provide the best possible care for your pet at all times in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.