Well folks, I’m sorry to say that foxtail season has already begun (a little sooner than usual). Today we removed our first foxtail from the nose of a dog. She came in with acute sneezing that started when she was out in the field yesterday with her mom.
Sure enough, we sedated her and found a huge foxtail in her right nostril (sedation is almost always needed to look up a dog’s nose, otherwise they sneeze all over us!). The good news is that no damage was done ,and since mom brought her in so quickly the foxtail was relatively easy to find. We are not always so lucky with foxtails and sometimes they become lodged so deeply within an animal’s tissues that they are impossible to find: quite literally a needle in a haystack!
For those of you that don’t know about them, foxtails are grass awns that grow exclusively in California. They have sharp barbed tips like arrow heads, so once they grab ahold of something they keep inching forward but never backwards. In this way, they can enter an animals body and begin to migrate. We have even seen cases where a foxtail will enter through a paw and exit through the shoulder! They can pretty much end up wherever they choose and this can lead to major health problems.
Remember, when it comes to foxtails, prevention is the key. Mow down any tall grasses as quickly as they grow and try to remove any plant debris that accumulates. The only way to truly keep your pet foxtail-free is to practice avoidance! If you think your pet might have been exposed to a foxtail, seek treatment right away.