Foxtails Everywhere: Dogs & Owners Beware!

It’s foxtail season!

Those pesky grass awns may seem innocuous when you’re walking around outside, but they certainly can be troublesome. Foxtails can easily burrow their way into your dog’s body and become a major problem! Don’t know what foxtails look like? Check out this google image search

This dog came into the shelter with swollen paws and discharge coming from one of his eyes.

Foxtail Paw Dog Swollen Oozing

His paws were clipped and explored, and our team found multiple foxtails buried under the skin.

Foxtail Paw Dog Swollen Oozing

Before exploring and removing foxtails from the dog’s paw.

Usually once the foxtails are removed, the paws decrease in swelling and they heal well. However, this dog’s paw remained swollen.

    Foxtail Paw Dog Swollen OozingDespite foxtails being removed, the swelling did not completely resolve, suggesting there may still be another foxtail under the paw’s skin.

At the time of this dog’s neuter surgery, the veterinarian once again explored that paw and found yet another foxtail. Hopefully that will be the final foxtail to be removed from that paw!

The veterinarian also spent some time evaluating the dog’s eye and ultimately removed a foxtail buried in the conjunctiva around the eye. After surgery, this dog left the shelter with a rescue group, so we do not have an “after” photo, but we trust he’s doing better now given that the foxtails have been removed.

It’s not a joke that foxtails can go anywhere – they really can! They have been found in the chest cavity (where the lungs are) of dogs that show up at the vet with breathing issues. At that point, it is not an easy fix, so be sure to be aware of these pesky plants when you are out with your dog and avoid letting your dog go sniffing around amongst the plants as he/she might inhale a few and get them stuck in his/her nose! Also, be sure to check your dog for foxtails immediately upon returning inside from a walk as that will be the easiest time to remove them.

For more tips on avoiding foxtails, see the California Veterinary Medical Association’s bulletin.

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