With summer well and truly here we decided it would be a good time to talk you through some of the hazards in this period. We’ve already mentioned heatstroke and fly strike but we will now focus on what else can go wrong in this season. Today we start with grass seeds.
What are they?
Grass seeds are pointed seeds that can cause problems for our pets by getting stuck in paws, ears or anywhere else on the pet’s body. There have been some cases where the grass seeds can migrate through the body and even end up in the chest cavity causing serious complications.
What should I look out for?
Depending on where the grass seed is on the body your pet may react in different ways. Commonly we see small fluid filled bumps appearing between the toes which can often be the infection and inflammation around a grass seed or it’s tract. With ear foreign bodies we will normally see head shaking or a head tilt. Sometimes if the animal has shook their head a lot you may notice a swelling in the ear flap which is known as an aural haematoma. For foreign bodies in eyes the first sign is normally blinking, some discharge or holding the eye closed.
How are they treated?
The good news is that most of the time these are easily treated. Sedation is sometimes required to remove the grass seed. If they are within the paw, it would normally require sedation to lance and flush the area and then hopefully remove the seed. In ears they can really bother the animal so normally sedation if needed to remove the seed and examine for anymore or damage.
Sometimes there can be secondary issues such as damage to the eardrum or the eye surface. If this is the case your vet will prescribe the appropriate treatment. Most of the time an animal will need to wear a buster collar and receive some medication for around a week to allow the inflammation and infection to settle down.
How do I avoid them?
Sadly at this time of year it is difficult to avoid these seeds. The best course of action is to check your pet thoroughly daily or after every walk for dogs. Check between paws and monitor for any abnormal signs. There is more potential for damage the longer a grass seed is left. If you notice anything abnormal then call your vet for an appointment.