Sade and Sammy at play.
Last week, just before hurricane Irene, we noticed Dylan was not picking up his toys in his usual manner (two or three in his mouth at a time) and seemed to be having difficulty eating biscuits (although it did not stop him from trying to inhale them). He also had worse breath than usual. We tied to look in his mouth and as we opened it he screamed. Off to the vet we went. They said it sounded like he had an abscess, possibly caused by Foxtail Grass Awn. We had never heard of such a thing. They kept Dylan overnight and did surgery. He came home on antibiotics and pain meds on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday he seemed to be doing okay and was at the shelter with us. On Monday morning Dylan’s face was swollen and his eye looked horrible. I rushed him back to the vet. He underwent more surgery and they put a drain in his face for the abscess.
He is home again and this is what he looks like….
Here is some information I got off the Internet:
Recently we have been treating an influx of pets with foxtails embedded into ears, nose, between toes and other various parts of the body. Some dogs enter the clinic sneezing violently, some with a constant head-shake, some with an abscess or swollen eye. These foxtail injuries are very dangerous to your pets and should be treated immediately. Foxtail barley is a perennial grass, commonly found in yards, fields, along roadsides, trails and in most canyon areas. They grow quickly during the rainy months, in almost any soil condition, and dry out during the warm summer months. Once foxtail grasses dry out, the seed detaches easily and sticks to clothing and fur. Foxtails can enter a dog’s body in a variety of ways and once they enter, they are like a barbed fish hook: The seed only wants to move forward, burrowing into the skin. It’s most common for a foxtail seed to enter a dog’s body through the skin, nose, ears, paws, and eyes. Foxtails are very tenacious, painful and dangerous to your pet. Foxtails in the ears, nose, and eyes are very serious and can ultimately be life-threatening if they are not treated promptly.
Foxtails burrow. The outsides of the “seedlings” contain a bacterium with enzymes used to break down vegetation. This bacterium also allows the seedling to burrow into a dog along the tunnels of pus created by the enzyme.
A foxtail can literally go anywhere in the dog. For example, they have been found inside the brain, anal glands, eyes, ears, jowls, feet, spinal cord, lungs, and vagina.
Mouth: Dogs can get foxtails in their mouth. The symptoms of a foxtail stuck in the gums, between teeth or back of the throat include a painful mouth (difficulty eating and drinking), gagging, difficulty swallowing when eating, etc. If swallowed,
foxtails can be passed. However, if it gets caught in periodontal pockets, the tongue, in between teeth or in the back of the throat, it can cause problems.
You can tell if this has occurred, not only from the above symptoms, but possibly your pet may have a foul odor coming from the mouth. Your vet will anesthetize the dog, then locate and remove the foxtail.
From another website:
The danger for pets lies in the “invasiveness” of the dry seed pods found in late summer and early fall. These pods have one-way microscopic barbs that allow the seed to work its way into fur, skin, and mucous membranes, but not work itself back out, much like the one-way movement of porcupine quills. Foxtail weeds shed
very small black seeds which also work their way into fur, skin, and tissue.
Jack wrote this and asked me to post it.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans some people died because they would not leave without their animals and the American Red Cross would not allow animals into their shelters. The Red Cross realized that they needed to do something. The solution was to require all communities in the country to have a plan to shelter animals during times of disasters. The Red Cross, however, still would not allow animals to be in their shelters.
Long before Katrina the Harwich Police Department had put in place a plan to shelter animals at the Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich. The plan was to use the Auto Body Shop, which is in the lower level of the school, as a shelter. People evacuating to the Red Cross shelter at the Tech could also bring their animals. The animals would be kept in an area separate from the Red Cross shelter but still accessible within the building. After the legal wording and documents were taken care of the FIRST human/animal shelter on the Cape was established.
With further planning and meetings over the years the concept of “Regional” shelters for Cape Cod (and I think all of Massachusetts) was established. The Cape Cod Tech was designated the regional shelter for the Towns of Harwich, Brewster and Chatham.
On Saturday August 27, 2011 with Hurricane Irene bearing down on New England the order to open the regional shelters was given. I hooked up the “Emergency Animal Services” trailer, which was obtained through a grant from HSUS, and headed for the Tech. Lynda loaded her work truck with some supplies, met with Meg McDonough, the Chatham Police Animal Control Officer, hooked up her trailer and met me at the Tech. We posted signs along the driveway of the Tech leading to the animal shelter. Then the equipment and crates that are stored in the trailers were unloaded and within an hour we were open to receive animals.
Cape Cod was spared the brunt of Irene but there were numerous trees down and wide spread power outages. There were not many evacuees at the shelter and we only got 4 dogs (not counting our own) and a cat. Because of the slow moving nature of this storm we were open to receive animals from 5:30 Saturday evening until 12:00 noon on Monday. We did not get much sleep but were happy knowing that anyone that wanted to shelter would have a place where their pet would be welcome.
Monday afternoon we got to go home again and were told by Lynda’s Mum that the electricity had gone off at about 10:00 am on Sunday. Luckily the power finally came back on at about 3:00 pm on Monday. Neither Lynda’s Mum’s house nor ours sustained any damage other than both properties are covered with small branches and thousands of leaves. I know what I will be doing tomorrow on my only day off!
The most important thing is that Lynda’s Mum and her animals and Lynda , Dylan, Ivan, Owen and Lamont are all okay.