How to deal with grass seeds on dogs

Grass seeds might look small and harmless, but in the wrong place, they can cause a great deal of trouble for our furry family members, warns leading vet charity PDSA.
“If your dog likes to run around in long grass, it’s important to always check them for grass seeds afterwards,” explains PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing.

Symptoms to look out for:
Grass seeds are most often seen to cause problems in and around the ears, eyes, and between the toes, but they can find themselves getting anywhere, working their way under the skin.

Ears – if your dog has a grass seed in their ear, you may notice them shaking their head, scratching their ear or holding their head to one side.

Eyes – if your dog has a grass seed stuck in their eye, they are likely to develop a painful, weepy eye and will keep their eye almost closed.

Paw – if your dog has a grass seed between their toes, they might excessively lick or nibble their paw. You may also notice them limping or holding the leg up.

Nose – if your dog has a grass seed in their nose you may notice your dog sneezing more and bloody discharge from your dog’s nostrils.

Elsewhere – a grass seed that gets in through the skin and travels around the body is likely to cause vague symptoms such as a non-healing wound, low energy and a high temperature.

Possible treatment
Depending on where it is, it might be possible for your vet to pull it out. However, once a grass seed has worked its way into the body, they can be much harder to find, don’t often show up on x-rays, and can start travelling around causing inflammation, infection and abscesses.

Eyes – if your dog has a grass seed in their eye, they are likely to need a local anaesthetic, a sedation or a general anaesthetic to have it removed.

Ears – if your dog has a grass seed in their ear, your vet might be able to see and remove it by looking down their ear with a instrument called an otoscope. However, the ear is very painful or the grass seed is deep in the ear and your dog may need a sedation or a general anaesthetic for the seed to be removed.

Paw – finding a grass seed in between the toes can be challenging because they often make their way under the skin and cause an interdigital cyst (swelling between the toes).

If the grass seed is just beneath the skin, your vet may be able to remove it while your dog is awake, but it’s much more likely that your dog will need to be sedated or put under general anaesthetic to allow the vet to flush out the area and try to find it.

Anywhere else – if your vet suspects your dog has a grass seed that is travelling around their body, they may recommend sending them to a referral veterinary centre for specialist tests, like a CT scan, and possibly surgery.

Prevention is key
Prevention is better than cure.

Always check your dog for grass seeds after walks in long grass. And try to prevent your dog running around in long grass, sticking to paths instead.


Picture: Pixabay/RebeccaPictures

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