A walk in the park could turn into trouble for man’s best friend due to foxtails — the seeds of some grasses.
“It’s pretty recognizable,” dog owner Antonio Corbo said. “It looks like a foxtail, and it can be troublesome for dogs.”
Calgary dog owner Tara Berger learned about foxtails from her neighbour.
“My neighbour’s dog ate one,” Berger said. “They couldn’t figure out why he kept coughing. They kept checking on him. They thought he had a cold or something dog virus. Then they found he’d eaten a foxtail and it was coming out of his neck because he had a growth.”
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A Calgary veterinarian says foxtails are like porcupine quills.
“Both of them just start moving in and the body’s defence is to try and get it out, just like when you get a sliver,” Dr. Shelby Kimura told Global News. “But sometimes, the more you try to get it out, the more it goes in further, and due to the unique shape of the seeds, they just drive themselves forward.”
The seeds can get embedded in paws, ears and eyes or can be swallowed. Vet clinics are seeing more cases.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase over the last couple of weeks, for sure,” Kimura said Sunday. “But since August started, we’ve had at least one a day.”
Kimura said signs like limping or irritation can indicate when to take your dog to the vet.
“People often think there’s something stuck in the throat because the dogs will start hard swallowing or gulping air, also licking things, licking the wall, licking carpets, licking anything around them due to the discomfort,” Kimura said.
The Calgary vet advised getting rid of the foxtail grasses in your yard and leashing your dog when on a walk.
“Preventing access is really the only way to prevent them from eating them if your dog has that in its nature,” Kimura said.