These seeds can get into any crack or crevice and can make the area sore until they are removed. The most common places we find them are between the toes, in the nose, ears and behind eyelids.
The worst seeds are those that are like small darts with a sharp point and long tail. These can prick the skin and cause a swelling. If they are not removed immediately they can start to move around under the skin and cause further problems.
Some pets are more tolerant to them than others, and whilst some may seem unfazed by them, other will run around shaking the affected area trying to dislodge it. If your dog comes out of a field sneezing or has a sore eye then you need to be concerned. When they are in the paw they can be very painful and can lead to infection and onset of lameness. Not finding the seed can result in them travelling to another part of the body, causing often more serious problems. Often this can be noticed through lack of appetite, feeling unwell and miserable, difficulty breathing or sores that won’t heal. Any of these symptoms are a definite sign that you need to get straight to your vet.
Try not to let your dog run around in areas where there is long grass, especially in June. After a walk brush their coat thoroughly and check the places where they are often to be found. Keeping your dog well-groomed, and being familiar with their coats, even when short, will make it easier to spot the seeds and any sore patches or discharge.
If a seed has worked its way under the skin it may be that your vet will have to perform an operation to remove it. Actually finding the seed can often be difficult as they are vegetable matter and don’t readily show up on x-rays. A general anaesthetic may be required as the area is too sensitive for the vet to access with the patient awake. Difficulty in finding and removing the seed can result in a large bill, so keeping a close eye on your dog during the season (June – around October) can help avoid this.
Another place the seeds regularly get into is the ear canal and the most common sign of this is the violent shaking of the head. The further it goes into the ear, the more difficult it can be to get out and the seeds can work their way through the body from here.
Grass seeds are the greatest problem in summer and autumn. Keeping your dog’s coat trimmed short around the paws, armpits, groin and ears will help. Always check these areas thoroughly if you have been for a walk where grass seeds were present. If you notice a grass seed embedded get it dealt with straight away to prevent it becoming more serious. Avoid areas with dart like grass seeds.