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8 Problems Grass Seeds Can Cause for Your Pet
With all the rain we have experienced during winter and now that the days getting warmer, the grass has started growing and with it will come a new wave of grass seeds. Grass seeds have potential to cause a range of problems in our pets so please keep a close eye on them for these pesky little objects.
Grass seeds can get stuck in your dog’s fur and burrow deep into the skin. Here the body reacts to this foreign material by causing an inflammatory reaction and producing often very large amounts of pus. From the outside it may just look like a lump. These require surgical exploration to retrieve the grass seed, which sometimes may or may not be a straight forward process!!
Grass seeds that lodge between toes can cause pain and swelling to the point that your pet may not want to put their foot down. Once in the foot the grass seed can migrate under the skin up the leg making them very tricky to find.
Grass seeds caught in your pet’s coat eventually work their way down and penetrate the skin in soft areas such as armpits and groin and genitals. Initially this causes discomfort but left un-noticed the seeds cause infection and abscesses.
Dogs running in long grass can breathe grass seeds into their nose. Seeds cause severe irritation which may result in your pet rubbing their face or sneezing. Severe cases may have a bloody nasal discharge.
Inhaled grass seeds can move down the airways into the lungs where they cause nasty infections known as pyothorax. A pyothorax is basically an accumulation of pus inside the chest cavity that prevents the lungs from expanding during breathing. This condition can be fatal.
Since grass seeds are designed to burrow into things they can easily get lodged in ear canals and they do not come out. Grass seeds will irritate your dog’s ear to the point that they will either scratch the ear till it bleeds or shake their head severely enough that the blood vessel between the top and underside of the ear flap ruptures and causes the ear flap to fill with blood (aural haematoma). Ear infections, ruptured ear drums and loss of balance and even deafness can also occur.
Dogs running through long grass are prone to getting grass seeds caught in their eyes. Sometimes they are difficult to see as they wedge between the eye and the eyelid or even under the third eyelid. They cause the eye to become watery, red and swollen and dogs will rub the affected eye excessively. Left untreated grass seeds will rub the surface of the eyeball which can result in ulcers, permanent blindness and even cause the eye to rupture.
In the mouth, grass seeds can bury into gums especially towards the back of the mouth. They can cause erosion of the gum and severe infections that can ultimately loosen teeth.
Unfortunately, there is no simple protection against grass seeds apart from prevention. Limiting your pet’s adventures in long dry grassy areas or where grass seeds can be found is helpful. Keep grassy areas at home mowed. Groom long haired pets regularly to remove grass seeds from their coat and if your pet has been on a grassy expedition, check their coat carefully and remove any seeds. Look carefully around the head and in the eyes and ears, as well as between the toes. If you are worried get them checked by your local vet before too much damage occurs.