Grass seeds

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Tim Craig BVSc,

THE time of grass seeds caus­ing prob­lems is al­most upon us again. Grass seeds cause all kinds of prob­lems in dogs and other an­i­mals be­cause of their ten­dency to stick in places they are not meant to go. Grass seeds are of­ten re­trieved from un­der the skin, be­tween the toes and out of the ex­ter­nal ear canal. They cause lo­cal ir­ri­ta­tion and then in­fec­tion by car­ry­ing bac­te­ria into places that should be ster­ile. Dogs will shake their heads as a cause of this ir­ri­ta­tion when they have a seed in their ear or walk with their head tilted to one side. Grass seeds un­der the skin cause ab­scesses that are seen as a lump that may or may not be drain­ing pus or bloody fluid. Dogs will of­ten lick at th­ese areas alert­ing you to a prob­lem. Grass seeds have also been re­trieved from the oral cavity (stuck next to teeth), the nasal cavity, the uro­gen­i­tal tract (pre­puce, ure­thra, vulva) and from within the ab­domen and chest cav­i­ties. Dogs can in­hale grass seeds into the air­ways of their lungs as well. It is best to re­trieve grass seeds promptly be­fore they have a chance to set up an ab­scess or ear in­fec­tion. They tend to bur­row like a fish hook where they can only travel in­wards and not back­wards. Once they have moved away from the orig­i­nal site of en­try they can be very frus­trat­ing to track and find. Preven­tion of grass seed prob­lems should be aimed at keep­ing dogs on leads where grass seeds ex­ist (eg long grass on farms or at the edge of parks), keep­ing grass short (not al­low­ing it to seed) and mon­i­tor­ing and check­ing for any sign of seeds (com­monly ears, nose, mouth, armpits and groin).

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