In Australia, spring has sprung, and this means… Grass seed season.
What is a grass seed? A ‘Grass seed’ or ‘Foxtail’ is a weed that grows rampant at the end of winter and starts to dry in the warmer weather. It then will release its dry seeds, to populate more areas.
This seed has been designed to spread throughout your garden, it has a point at the beginning, perfect for penetration, and a brushed end, making it hard to remove.
This unfortunately means that it easily gets stuck in fur and can penetrate the skin, or even worse, it can go into the ears, eyes, mouth, nipples, or genitals. A pet shaking its head will be checked by a veterinarian for the presence of grass seed.
Once penetrated into the skin, due to its shape, the seed can move around the body, causing even more problems.
Dogs and cats should be checked regularly for the presence of seeds. If any of these weeds are on your property, daily checks could prevent a vet visit.
How do I know if I have a penetrated grass seed?
If on the surface of the skin, a granulated wound may be present with the seed still showing. If penetrated or naturally removed, a hole will be present. If evidence of a hard ‘trail’ under the skin, this needs to be seen ASAP to find the location of the seed, this may require exploratory surgery. If no ‘trail’, veterinary attention is still required, as antibiotics may be needed.
What do I do if I find a grass seed in the skin?
If a cat is found to have grass seeds embedded in the skin, do not clip the cat, unless by veterinary advice, as clipping the end of these seeds while embedded, can cause them to be lost under the skin, and in turn, cause infection and exploratory surgery to retrieve.
You may like to remove the grass seed if sticking out enough, put this in a bag to show the vet how much is removed, and seek veterinary attention. An abscess can still form.
So, get out there and remove these weeds! Prevent a possible abscess or surgery.