Pets of the month for July are Molly and Jed who are two of the six dogs who have visited Cogges just this week because of grass seeds.
Grass seeds are very common at this time of year. The sticky surface and pointed tip make it easy for them to attach to dog’s fur and then work their way through the coat and into the skin, or into the ear canal. The awns then cause a lot of irritation.
Patients who have picked up a seed are often severely irritated by the affected area of their body, chewing at a paw or shaking their heads. Sometimes the seeds work their way under the skin of the body where they cause swelling and discomfort. The presence of a foreign object within the skin causes infection, so the swollen areas are often filled with pus.
If we suspect a grass seed we will try to remove it with long handled forceps. This can be very uncomfortable so may need to be done under sedation. Sometimes the seeds can be difficult to find, and they can migrate a long way through the skin. In some cases where we suspect a grass seed in a paw we may apply a dressing for 24 hours to act as a poultice and draw the seed out.
Molly is a 6 year old Cocker Spaniel x Poodle who was shaking her head and seemed to have a painful right ear. We were able to remove a grass seed without any sedation. We will re-examine her ear in a few days to check for infection.
Jed is an 11 year old Cocker Spaniel who had a large swelling between his toes which we suspected was a grass seed. He was sedated, the swelling was opened and the seed removed, then the area was flushed and a dressing applied. He had a check up 2 days later and his paw is healing well so no further treatment is needed.
After walks through long grass, check your dogs coat thoroughly for seeds – this is particularly important in dogs like Spaniels, Spaniel crosses and Retrievers as their long coats make them particularly prone to picking up seeds. If your dog is clipped, ask your groomer to trim the hair between the toes to make it easier to see and remove any seeds.
If your pet is showing any signs of irritation or you notice any swellings then please get them checked.