Grass seeds stuck in ears, eyes, noses and feet are an unfortunate yet very common problem for our four legged friends, especially in the summer months.
Over the past couple of weeks we have seen the incidents of pets presented to the practice for this problem soar!
If spotted and removed quickly the problems caused by these pesky seeds is often short lived, however they have the ability to quickly migrate from where they first became attached to the fur, often working their way deep into ear canals, feet, eyes, armpits and other areas of the body. Because these seeds carry barbs along their length, they quickly work inwards, but are unable come back out on their own.
Typically with grass seeds in paws, owners will notice a sore or swollen area sometimes this can almost look like a weeping blister. Pets will often lick at the site intently as it is so uncomfortable.
The majority of animals with grass seeds in their ears will shake their heads violently, although this is not always the case. Sometimes the only sign is a slight discomfort or bad smell.
Animals that are unfortunate enough to get a grass seed lodged under the third eyelid of their eye will generally have a slight squint in that eye. They may have a discharge, or keep trying to rub their eye.
Pets will often come to us with a grass seed stuck up their nose or at the back of their throat. These can prove very tricky to remove. Most often the symptoms include violent sneezing or wretching / gagging.
Grass seeds will also work their way into any part of an animal’s body if they get caught up in their hair. Other common sites include armpits, groin areas, chests and mouths.
We would always encourage owners of long haired, curly coated or breeds with large ears to be cautious about where they walk them during these months to help avoid the risk of picking up grass seeds. Keeping coats short around the eyes, ears and feet can also help. Checking and brushing through your pets coat from nose to tail each day for the sign of any grass seeds can be really worthwhile.
If you suspect your pet may have a grass seed imbedded in their skin, please always contact us at the practice for an appointment. Although the symptoms listed above are common, some pets will not show such obvious signs of having a grass seed stuck somewhere. The sooner we can try to address these problems, the more likely we are to be able to find the offending object! Although sadly these cases can prove extremely challenging at times, and as grass seeds do not show up on x-rays, the hunt for them can occasionally be a painstaking one.
The picture in this article is of a grass seed removed by one of our Vets from behind the third eyelid of a dog that weighs just 3kg!