The Nefarious Foxtail

It’s official – WVH’s first foxtail case of the season came in last week! These nasty seeds are especially prevalent during the spring and summer months. Their pointed ends are designed to burrow the seed into the ground, but they will also burrow into your pet! The barbs can work their way into any part of your dog or cat, from the nose to between the toes, and inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even simply dig themselves directly into a patch of skin. Because these… tough seeds don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to serious infection for your dog or cat.

The best way to prevent foxtails is to be proactive: check your pets’ faces, eyes, ears and paw pads constantly for them, and pick any out of the fur as soon as you see them. Keep an eye out for these signs as well: If you notice swelling or limping, or if your dog is constantly licking the area, or if your pooch is shaking his head, tilting it to the side, or scratching incessantly at an ear, this could be the sign of a foxtail – one that may be so deep in the ear canal that our vets will need to use a special scope to look inside. If your dog is sneezing frequently and intensely, there may be a foxtail lodged in a nasal passage.

Check out this video of Dr. Rode removing a foxtail from a dog’s nose in 2014:

If you notice your pet doing any of these things, or if you have any other questions about foxtails, give us a call (the sooner the better) at 530-666-2461!