Foxtails. We wish we were thinking of a nice soft fluffy tail but that is not the case. The foxtails we want to talk about are your pooch’s outdoor arch nemesis. When our Medicine Hat summer weather takes a turn towards dry and crispy conditions, the foxtail grass starts to emerge.
“Foxtails” are a general term for grasses that have seed clusters on the end of the stems with sharp projections that are for penetrating the soil when fallen to the ground.
If your dog loves rolling, sniffing, eating, and running through grass, they are at risk for foxtail invasions!
Foxtails like to get stuck in between toes, in paw pads, in fur, and inside the tonsil folds in the throat.
When a foxtail gets stuck in the throat, you will usually notice your pet start to gag and swallow very hard; sometimes coughing to the point of vomiting. The symptoms are noticed after the pet comes inside from running around outside. When the foxtails get stuck in the paws, you may notice a swollen bump in-between the toes and your pet constantly licking the sore area.
In most cases, a Veterinary intervention is needed to relieve your pet of the pesky foxtail; usually with sedation to grab it out of the throat or the skin. An anti-inflammatory will usually be sent home to reduce the irritation from the throat or skin, and in some cases, an antibiotic if the foxtail has festered and created an infection.
Sometimes, the coughing and gagging from a foxtail stuck in the throat can be misjudged as canine(kennel) cough; trying to remember when and where your pet started symptoms and where they have been in the last week will help your Veterinarian help your pet.
This summer in Medicine Hat has been a busy one for both canine cough and foxtail invasions, and sometimes it is hard to know the difference between the two.
Please know that our Team at Cypress View Vet is always here for you and your pet, and if you have any questions, we are only a phone call away!