Foxtails

It’s that time of year again! Foxtail season is upon us. A foxtail is a common term for the seed that is given off by certain types of wild grasses. They have a hardened tip and barbed fronds pointing away from the tip (see image). These pesky plants are found primarily in the Western US and populations peak during the dry summer months. They will embed themselves anywhere on your pet and if not caught early, they can become trapped below the skin and migrate almost anywhere in the body causing infections and pain. Common sites they are found include in between the webbing of the toes, inside the ears, up the nostrils, inside the eyelids, and genital regions. If your pet has been hiking or playing in brush, they should be brushed and thoroughly inspected head to toe afterwards. If there is overgrown brush or weeds in your yard, keep them cut back as much as possible or limit your pet’s access to those areas. Signs of infection from a foxtail include non-stop sneezing, constant head shaking, excessive blinking with eye swelling, excessive licking of paws accompanied by swelling or lameness, excessive licking of their genitals and more. If your veterinarian suspects a foxtail, your pet may need to be sedated to find it or remove it and antibiotics will likely be prescribed.

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