This Weed Could Be Fatal to Dogs and Cats
As hiking season approaches and more of us venture out with our canine companions, we’re warning guardians that the foxtail weed can be deadly to animals.
The foxtail is a spikelet that carries a foxtail grass seed and is common throughout the UK. The sharp points on the foxtail’s barbed seed heads can easily become lodged in a dog’s or cat’s skin and can even burrow their way inside an animal’s body. Some areas where the seeds typically become wedged include the feet, ears, eyes, nose and genitals.
Because these seeds don’t break down inside an animal’s body, they can lead to serious infection and even death if left untreated. They can travel to the brain or internal organs, causing pain, abscesses, perforated lungs, discharge or swelling.
They can be hard to spot on long-haired dogs, leaving them at higher risk, although small dogs with open, uprights ears are also vulnerable.
You can protect your animal companions by keeping them away from overgrown areas and meadows and sticking to paths. It’s also important to check dogs or cats if they have been walking through areas where foxtails may be growing.
If you find a foxtail in an animal’s fur, you can carefully remove it with tweezers. If it’s in any way lodged in the skin or you suspect that it has entered the animal’s body, call your vet immediately.