Orchard Vet's Blog

Seeds of discontent


A recent study of pet insurance claims has highlighted the problem of grass seeds embedded in dogs' flesh as a common summer problem. There were nearly 500 cases in the summer of 2015 costing an average of £337 to treat.

Grass seeds can be easily picked up by dogs, especially those with longer coats. Foxtail grass seeds have pointed ends designed to help propogation. These readily embed themselves into the hair and flesh of animals and tend to 'migrate' into the animal's body - every vet has a grass seed 'horror story' in which a seed has ended up entering the ear canal or body cavity. Dogs' paws, noses and ears are especially susceptible to collecting seeds and, between our three surgeries, we regularly have cases of grass seed intrusion.

You can take some preventative measures to protect your pet: try to avoid long grass; preferably walk your dog over grass that has been cut; maintain the grass in your own garden; groom regularly.

In addition, after each walk, check your pet all over for seeds (and ticks) especially around the paws and between the toes, and around the face and ears. If you notice your dog's behaviour change - shaking of the head or licking a particular area - bring them in for an assessment by one of our vets. Because grasses can intrude into an animal's body, and because they do not show up on x-rays, sedation and an exploratory investigation may be required to remove an embedded seed.