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Grass seeds - Down in the meadows

The grasses have now flowered and their seeds are all around. These seeds can get into any crack or crevice such as ears and eyes and will make these sore until they are removed. If your pet has a smelly ear, a weepy eye or keeps sneezing, a trip to the vets is in order to make sure they don't have a hidden grass seed.

Your questions answered

Where do grass seeds go?

Grass seeds have an amazing talent for getting everywhere they shouldn't. Most commonly they are found hidden behind a pet's eyelid, in ears or between dog's toes but any vet will be able to tell you endless stories about the strange places they have had to remove a grass seed from!

How do they get there?

The worst offenders are the seeds of the grass which are like small darts. These have a very sharp point and a long tail. These prick your pet's skin which may cause a small swelling. If they are not removed immediately these seeds can start to move around under the skin and some will travel long distances causing all sorts of problems.

How do I know if my pet has a grass seed stuck in them?

Some pets don't seem to mind even quite large grass seeds stuck behind their eyelid or in their ear. Others are driven mad by the tiniest grain and will run around shaking their head trying to remove the irritation. Most pets will protest as soon as they get a grass seed stuck. If your dog comes out of a hay field sneezing, or if your dog has a weepy sore eye then you should be concerned. Sometimes the first signs are missed and the grass seeds get right inside the body. Once inside, grass seeds can move around and often makes pets quite unwell. They may be off their food or generally miserable, or have more obvious problems like difficulty breathing or sores that don't want to heal.

What can I do to protect my pet?

Try not to let your dog run around in meadows where the grass is very tall. If your dog doesn't mind wearing it a length of old tights placed over your dogs head and ears may help stop seeds getting into the ears. When you get back from a walk always brush or comb through your pet's coat to remove any seeds and check closely between their toes to make sure the seeds aren't embedded there. Long-haired dogs can be clipped so that grass seeds cannot lie hidden in long fur around the feet and ears. Groom your dog daily and keep a close look out for any sores or discharges. If you do find a grass seed stuck in the skin you may be able to pull it out with a pair of tweezers. Sometimes the seed will work its way right under the skin and an operation may be needed to remove it. Because grass seeds move around so much, it would not be unusual for your vet to do several operations before they find one! If you are concerned about anything a visit to the vet may not only put your mind at ease but could save you and your pet a lot of trouble in the long run.

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