We all enjoy going for walks and hikes this time of year. It’s beautiful because everything is starting to bloom and the fields of open land have tall grass blowing in the wind. Makes me want to stop writing, get up and go, right after I’m done I guess. The one dreaded problem is out there right now though and it’s Foxtail.
It’s such a small little piece of grass but it can cost you thousands of dollars to have it removed from your dogs:
- sinus cavity
- between their toes
- and of all places a females dogs private parts
- long haired dogs can get it embedded in the skin and you won’t even see it
It’s one of the most common afflictions treated by veterinarians. Once a foxtail (Wild Barley) gets started it continues to burrow forward carrying all kinds of bacteria with it and can cause even more serious problems with handicapped dogs when they can’t reach the affected area. So be aware of the following symptoms and get your pet treated right away.
- continuous sneezing with blood
- swelling at the foxtail location
- Redness around the affected area
- head shaking or ear scratching
- head tilted to the side
Several other grasses can cause problems too and like foxtail they are all annuals and at their worst in the late spring and summer. The one with the nastiest name is ripgut grass (Bromusdiandrus). It actually perforates the guts of cattle when they eat it, and can easily kill a dog, but it is much larger than foxtail and easier to see in the coat. Ripgut grass is common on grassy hillsides, but not common in disturbed areas.
Cheatgrass (Bromus Tectorum) is similar to ripgup, but smaller, and is common on grassy hillsides in desert areas such as Palmdale or Victorville. Red brome (Bromus madritensis), like foxtail, is common along paths and roads. It is often confused with foxtail and is almost as much of a problem.
The grass is commonly found around roadsides, pathways and backyards and is growing right now between March and April, then as the weather heats up it dries and becomes your worst nightmare for the entire summer.
Dog keep their noses to the ground most of the time but if you keep up a nice brisk pace, which most pets need anyway, then that nose will be up off the ground and you can save yourself a lot of money and you dog a lot of distress. The trick is to watch where your dog is going, don’t let them off leash in these areas and stay on a well traveled path and especially keep your handicapped pets away from the weed covered areas.