Grass seeds are a common problem over the warmer months. The most commonly affected areas are ears, eyes, the nose and feet (especially between the toes)… but if you think of a body part, vets have probably removed a grass seed from it (including lungs, tonsils and bladders)!
Grass seeds are spear-shaped and they have many tiny spikes all pointing the same way which encourages the seed to travel most easily in a forward direction, and to “grip” a pet’s coat or flesh and not be easily pulled out. The main problems suffered by our pets once a grass seed has embedded, are pain from irritation of the sharp spiky seed, and infection once the seed has penetrated inside the body. There may be an oozing red swelling, or the problem may be much less obvious if the irritation and infection are internal.
Beautiful Milly was one such patient that had a troublesome grass seed reaction. Milly is a 2 year old Bull Terrier who presented to Vetwest Ballajura with a swelling on her jaw. There were no obvious external wounds. Milly was placed on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories which temporarily caused the swelling to almost completely disappear. However, as soon as Milly’s medication finished, the swelling recurred.
Milly was scheduled for a general anaesthetic, jaw x-rays, and if necessary, surgery. X-rays showed there were no fractures or bone abnormalities with Milly’s jaw, and all of her teeth were fine. A needle biopsy of the swelling showed evidence of infection. Milly was taken to surgery where deep within the swelling a grass seed was found. We cannot be sure, but it is suspected the seed went into Milly’s mouth and then moved through the gum tissue to sit next to the jaw bone.
Milly went home later that day with a drain in the wound, sutures and an elizabethan collar. All of these post-surgery wound healing aids have now been removed, and Milly has gone on to have a complete recovery.
While all cases like Milly’s are not preventable, it is definitely worthwhile to keep your yard mown, avoid walking your dog through long grass, and to groom your pets regularly.