Grass Seed Season

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Leeton Veterinary Hospital
41 Yanco Avenue
NSW 2705

02 6953 3111
02 6953 2793

Spring is here and with that comes hay-fever, allergies and GRASS SEED season.

Grass seeds are exactly what they sound like, the dried seeds of various grasses. Due to their tapered shape and sharp point, grass seeds are designed to go in only one direction, forwards.

Grass seeds will get into all kinds of places on your pet and they can cause anything from minor irritation, to an abscess, to severe trauma as seen in Rusty’s case. Rusty had over 100 grass seeds imbedded under his neck, one of which had punctured his jugular vein.

The most common places we see grass seeds causing problems in pets is in ears, underneath eyes, up nostrils and between toes. If you see your pet suddenly shaking it’s head, holding an eye closed, sneezing or limping with a swelling between their toes it could well be a grass seed. If you suspect your pet has a grass seed stuck somewhere uncomfortable you should call the Leeton Veterinary Hospital. Some grass seeds can be tricky to remove and if you attempt to do it yourself you could cause the grass seed to move deeper or cause more trauma. In many cases we have to sedate or even fully anaesthetise animals to remove grass seeds without causing further damage.

Not all grass seeds reveal themselves immediately. We often see this with the infamous grass seed abscess, owners have noticed a swelling and then it bursts, releases pus and appears to heal. No worries, or is it? A little while later another swelling appears at the same site, then it goes down. Up and down, up and down. Unknown to them this is the grass seed working itself deeper. Sometimes this even happens following surgery. Grass seeds can be tricky to find surgically, even at the best of times, as such on occasion multiple surgeries are required to locate and remove the grass seed. An example of this was Angell. Angell had a small pimple-like spot next to her vulva, we suspected a grass seed was under her skin so we operated, but couldn’t find any grass seed. The site healed up well, but a few weeks later Angell was back, the pimple had returned. We operated again the next day and this time we were in luck, that extra bit of time had caused the body to create a sinus tract, a little tunnel of thickened tissue which marked the path the grass seed had taken. We followed the sinus tract all the way into her abdomen where we found the grass seed nestled against a piece of intestine, a journey of over 20cm!

As in most cases, prevention is better than cure with grass seeds. In the spring and summer months you should check your pet daily for grass seeds, paying particular attention to between toes and between legs. Long haired animals can be clipped all over to make monitoring for grass seed easier, and has the added benefit of helping keep your pet cool in the hot weather. If you do have a long haired pet using a comb can sometimes help to comb away grass seeds.

If you suspect your pet has picked up a grass seed please call the Leeton Veterinary Hospital for assistance.

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