Ahhh, Spring Has Sprung

With the warmer weather here, we are all keen to enjoy the great outdoors with our wonderful pets. At Fur Life Vet we have gathered together some great tips on caring for your pet throughout Spring.

On this page you will find some great tips and tricks especially for enjoying Spring and links to additional health information, a handy check list to download, plus our Pet-Checker video range.

Download our super spring pet check-list here

Outdoor springtime hazards

Those pesky grass seeds

Most vets have dealt with a grass seed lodged in one (or more) dog orifices! While these seeds seem quite benign, they present a real risk to your dog. Leaving seeds embedded in the skin after a romp in long grass (which is oh-so-easy to do as they’re really hard to spot!) means they can penetrate and enter your doggie’s system. Once inside, the only way out is by removal as they don’t break down. Left inside, their effects can be disastrous, ranging from irritation to infection to paralysis.

Here’s what to look out for when it comes to grass seeds, your dog and their body parts:

What to do if you suspect your dog has a grass seed stuck somewhere

See your vet quickly. The earlier they intervene, the easier it is to remove them and often, it’s less expensive. Some body parts – such as the ear canal – do require more invasive procedures. If your best mate has one there, they’ll likely need a general anaesthetic and extensive antibiotic treatment.

How to avoid grass seed lodgements

The best option – avoid long grass! If that’s not possible, a thorough check after playtime is vital. Eyes, ears, paws, legs, abdomen, bum … you get it! In addition, keep on top of your pet’s grooming. If you have a long haired friend, keep their coat short during spring and summer, particularly near their paws. This reduces the chances of seeds getting caught in their long tresses … plus makes check-time easier for you!

Paw
Symptoms

  • Limping or holding leg up
  • Persistent licking
  • Redness
  • Swelling

What can happen

If a grass seed enters the paw, it can move up the leg causing swelling, abscesses and lameness.

Ear
Symptoms

  • Extreme pain
  • Loud yelp/scream if you touch their ear
  • Shaking/scratching/tilting head

What can happen

If a seed lodges in the hair near the ear canal, it will move down until it reaches the eardrum. Left there too long, it may rupture the eardrum and enter the middle ear. At this stage, there’s often irreversible damage.

Mouth & Throat
Symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Unable to eat or swallow
  • Retching or gagging
  • Difficulties or noisy breathing

What can happen

Grass seeds can cause significant swelling in this area. If swallowed, their spiky ends may also cause further damage to other organs. Surgery may be required to remove them

Private parts
Symptoms

  • Swelling & redness
  • Persistent licking of the area
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • Hind limb instability (if grass seeds enter the body & travel to spine)

What can happen

Being a very sensitive area, grass seeds can cause severe and permanent damage particularly if they enter the body and travel to the spine.

Eyes
Symptoms

  • Rubbing or keeping eye/s closed
  • Swelling and/or redness
  • Weeping eye

What can happen

A grass seed can cause an ulcer or damage eyesight.

Nose
Symptoms

  • Rubbing face on ground or with paw
  • Persistent sneezing
  • Blood dripping from nostrils
  • Difficulties or noisy breathing

What can happen

As it moves, the seed can damage the airways or enter the lungs. This is life threatening.

Skin
Symptoms

  • Persistent licking
  • Swollen, red lump (blood or pus may be present)

What can happen

If the seed enters the body through the skin, it can migrate to any number of locations. Invasive procedures may be needed to locate and remove it.

“Grass seeds can travel and cause permanent and often life threatening damage. If you think your pet may have a grass seed causing problems – don’t hesitate.
Get them vet checked.”

Dr Lisa Prestwood
Fur Life Vet Epsom, Bendigo

Case study – Grass seed lodged in nose
The presentation
The owner of a female Chihuahua noticed her dog had a severe case of the sneezes. The little dog was also pawing at her face, particularly around her nose. She took her to the clinic and upon examination, the vet found some damage on her left nostril. This led them to believe a grass seed may be present.

Diagnosis
Grass seed lodged in left nostril

Treatment
After sedating the dog, the vet searched the dog’s nasal passages. They located and removed a rye grass seed head measuring  approximately 5cm. The dog was given a 5-day antibiotics course and the owner told she may still experience bleeding from her nostril over the coming few days. Outcome In this case, the outcome was good as the owner was quick to react, visiting the vet as soon as she noticed her dog sneezing excessively. This didn’t leave much time for the grass seed to travel. Travelling grass seeds can cause permanent damage to airways and the lungs. This is life threatening and exploratory surgery is often the only option to save the dog. As you can see, those pesky little grass seeds can be very dangerous for your dog. Don’t let them play in long grass but if they do, a thorough grass seed check is a must.

Cats don’t tend to suffer from grass seed lodgements as much a dogs do. Why? They’re less likely to romp around in long grasses and they’re excellent self-groomers!

Blooming’ flowers

Some of the most beautiful flowers are also the most dangerous to your pet. Reactions range from vomiting and diarrhoea to seizures, paralysis and even, death. Below is a small list of toxic flowers but there are many more. For your pet’s sake, do a thorough check of all the plants in your garden this spring.

Poisonous flowers
  • Azalea
  • Crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Hyacinths
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lilies
  • Oleander
  • Sago
  • Palm
  • Tulips

We love Lilies but keep them away from your pet!

Fur Life Vet Bendigo 
Epsom 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/epsom
Golden Square 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/goldensquare

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital
Maffra 03 5147 1177
Sale 03 5144 3100
maffravet.com.au

Kyabram Veterinary Clinic
Kyabram 03 5852 2244
Nathalia 03 5866 2860
kyabramvets.com.au

Passionate Vetcare Bendigo 
03 5443 9385
passionatevetcare.com.au

Terang & Mortlake Vet Clinic
Terang 03 03 5592 2111
Mortlake 03 5599 2612
terangmortlakevet.com.au

Warrnambool Veterinary
Warrnambool 03 5561 2255
Port Fairy 03 5568 1855
wvc.com.au

Border Veterinary Clinic
Barham 03 5453 3159
Cohuna 03 5456 2709
Leitchville 03 5456 7334
Kerang 03 5452 2094
bordervets.com.au

Southern Riverina Vets
Finley 03 5883 3833
Echuca 03 5482 3202
Moama 03 5480 6071
Deniliquin 03 5881 5488
sr-vets.com.au

Dubbo Veterinary Hospital
02 6884 1190
dubbovet.net.au

Quirindi Veterinary Clinic
02 6741 2000
quirindivetclinic.com.au

Gympie Veterinary Services
Gympie 07 5482 2488
Tin Can Bay 07 5486 4666
gympieveterinaryservices.com

Scottsdale Veterinary Services
03 6352 2996
scottsdalevets.com.au

Smithton Veterinary Service
03 6452 6333
smithtonvet.com.au

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