The Possibly Severe Dangers of Foxtails to Dogs

Below is a helpful email that I send my clients once a year. Hopefully it can help an owner prevent a foxtail from penetrating, or help an owner get the proper treatment.

Hi Karen,

This email is to let clients know that foxtails are becoming more and more prevalent as the grasses begin to die. Foxtails are the seeds that many of the local grasses leave behind when they die. They are sharp on one end, and the hairs on them only allow them to move in one direction. They can actually pierce a dog’s skin and can become a serious problem if embedded in the ears, nose, stomach, etc., and a slightly less serious problem when embedded between the toes. Foxtails can become embedded in the skin, and can work their way through the body until they come out of the other side, or hit an impenetrable bone, ligament, etc.

Foxtails - Colin's Pack

I find that short-haired breeds such as Pit Bulls are much less likely to be susceptible foxtails, while breeds with a thick coat, such as German Shepherds, Akitas, Poodle mixes, etc. are much more likely to pick them up. Dogs can often pick them up in between the toes, on the nook where their upper hind legs meet their stomachs, and on their chest, as well as their nose and ears.

I’m taking the precautions of avoiding certain trails, and doing a rough check of most dogs that I know are more likely to attract them, but the possibility of a foxtail becoming a problem is still there. I would recommend keeping an eye out as well, especially by checking the areas I mentioned about, and especially if your dog is chewing or attempting to chew a certain area, shaking their head, (which could be a foxtail in the ear), or sneezing or pawing at their nose, (which could be a foxtail in the nose).

Foxtail X-Rays Colin's Pack

There have probably been about 7 to 8 incidences of dogs having to have surgery because of foxtails since starting in 2011, and a dog has already had a rhinoscopy this year to remove one from her nose. (I’ve been told that she got that over the weekend, and not during the pack hikes.) I’ve pasted a relevant link and below, and also attached a relevant screen shot.Thank you for being part of the pack!
Thanks for being part of the pack!

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