Of course all kinds of things where going through my mind: insect sting, allergies, dust inhalation, and "foxtails".
Foxtails are a serious hazard for all our pets, and they grow just about everywhere in the USA, but more so in the West, in dryer regions.
Foxtail is a grass with barbed seed heads. These plants can easily attach themselves onto the fur of a dog or cat, and then work their way into any opening of the animal :
Eyes, nose, mouth, in patches of skin, wounds, vagina, penis, or simply between the toes, where the pet will ingest it by licking at his/her paws.
The seeds will not break down inside the body, and this eventually can lead to serious infections- anywhere- and left untreated, will lead to death.
The problem is that these microscopic seeds are very hard to find and due to their structure they are moving only one way: forward, and that in a relentless way.
For instance a foxtail seed can migrate inside the dog's nose to the brain, they can be inhaled, and may eventually perforate his lunges.
Embedded foxtail anywhere in the body can cause swelling, discharge, abscesses, and death.
Think "foxtail" among other when your pet shows following symptoms:
Sudden, severe sneezing
Bleeding from nostril
Pawing face, nose
Ear scratching, wiping on items, pawing ear, shaking head
Eye squinting, swelling of eye, tears, mucus charge.
Foxtail's favored place to be embedded is between the toes of the dog/cat.
Extensive scratching, or licking.
Persistent licking of genitals.
Foxtails in ears and nose can do permanent damage, do not hesitate to consult your vet.
Symptoms may diminish occasionally; do not assume the problem is solved. Foxtails will travel long ways, doing extensive damage.
There are some measurements you can take to prevent foxtail problems:
- Keep your dog out of overgrown grasses.
- Trim your dog's hair coat/fur for the foxtail season (May through December), if you take your dog on hikes, open fields, and all areas where foxtail grows .
- Pull foxtail weeds out of your yard.
- Brush your dog daily in foxtail season, examining your pet's coat.
- Check especially his paws, between the toes, for foxtail.
If you see a a foxtail,and you can get to it, use tweezers to remove. If there is already a swelling, or redness, call your vet immediately.
Remember the seeds travel only forward, and can burrow into the pets spine, brain, lung, eardrums, or anywhere else in the body.
Happily to say that my Pap Tiger Man did not had a foxtail problem, and is doing fine.