Friday, July 11, 2008

Poor Colvin-Yet Another Foxtail

Somehow she got a foxtail up her nose and is at the vet as we speak. We have been to the Vet's so much this month that they are going to name the new wing after me and the dogs. Seriously though, the foxtails are as bad this year as I have ever seen them. It's enough to make me want to keep the doggies in the house. AARRGGHHH! For those unfamiliar with the diabolical weed, here is a description from the Placerville Vet.
Foxtails are named after foxtail brome, a grass whose seed head is bushy like a fox's tail. The term is used for any of the sharp stickers you might find poking into your socks after walking in a dry summer field.
Some foxtail problems can be prevented
If your dog has thick woolly hair, foxtails embedded in the coat will burrow through the skin and into his body. By the time you discover the problem, there may be dozens of foxtails that have become difficult or impossible to locate and remove. This can be prevented by careful daily combing or a close whole-body trim. The best time for trimming is just before the fields begin to turn brown and again six or eight weeks later.
Even for dogs with short hair, foxtails get started between the toes and burrow into the feet. This is a worse problem for Spaniels or other dogs with webbed toes, but happens with all breeds. Check your dog's feet every day and remove foxtails before they burrow in. If your dog has long hair between his toes, have a groomer trim it out.
Other foxtail problems cannot be prevented
Nose foxtails
Sudden extremely severe sneezing, pawing at nose, possibly bleeding from nostril. Symptoms diminish after several hours, becoming intermittent.
Ear foxtails
Tilting and shaking head, pawing at ear, crying, moving stiffly.
Eye foxtails
Squinting eye suddenly-swelling accompanied by tears and mucous discharge.
Throat foxtails
Gagging, retching cough, compulsive grass eating, stretching neck and swallowing.
Foxtails in any of these locations must be removed by a veterinarian, and depending on their location, often require anesthesia.
Unfortunately, the common foxtail problems listed above aren't the only ones. Foxtails can be inhaled or enter any body opening and travel long distances. They don't show on x-rays and are sometimes impossible to surgically locate and remove. It doesn't seem fair, but your dog will be a lot better off if kept in a kennel or on a leash.

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