Summer is the season for seeds!
Pointy, spiky, prickly grass seeds that can worm their way into feet and ears and eyes and under skin and be oh so ouchy ouchy.
Our furry friends all too often pick up seeds when frolicking around in the great outdoors. These grass seeds are very well designed to only move forwards. Tiny, sharp and very irritant barbs on the seeds prevent backwards motion. They are also designed to creep forwards in response to friction and movement surrounding them. This video very nicely demonstrates just how effectively a grass seed can wriggle into a swab.
Imagine if that swab was your dogs toes. Or ear. Or inner thigh.
Once embedded into the flesh of a foot or anchored down an ear canal a grass seed causes a lot of pain and discomfort and infection quickly follows. Common signs of a grass seed include ear shaking and scratching or painful yelps on ear rubbing. Licking and chewing at feet or bits of skin that have been penetrated is also common. Raised red nodules or red tracks through the skin may also be seen. Grass seeds can travel quite remarkable distances through flesh and can occasionally penetrate deep into a body. Some of the more dramatic locations our vets have retrieved a grass seed from include behind eyes, from within the abdomen and even from the middle of a testicle!
So what can you do?
Dogs with a lot of fur may benefit from a short summer clip. If not all the coat than a short clip around the feet, legs and belly can make all the difference. Regular brushing, grooming and skin checks are a must and any suspect areas of irritation should be checked out by your vet. Caught early most grass seeds can be easily removed. Vet's often find this very satisfying, knowing that your pet is much more comfortable once relieved of the irritating and uncomfortable seed!