Foxtail epidemic, help.

I don't know how many of you live in an area where foxtails are common, but I do. My vet has been doing emergency surgery on dogs for embedded foxtails for the last week. He said he was up to a pace of 4 a day. I am curious, do any of you just shave your dog because of this. Do you know good ways to get foxtails out of a sheepie who's coat is already short? I am trying to avoid shaving Kobe down to his skin, but is there is no other way I will.

Just looking for suggestions. Leave it to Mr. Kobe will find the one foxtail bush in a 50 mile radius and now they're everywhere. I keep brushing him, but he thinks the brush is a toy. Gotta love our playful babies. :lol:
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Check this site on the dangers of foxtails to dogs

Hope this is helpful...
I already know the dangers, but my mom's dog has already had two surgeries to remove foxtails from her girly parts. This is a great help to several of my friends, and my husband, who all thought I was overreacting.

But because I know the dangers, I want to be sure I'm doing what I can for my baby.

Thanks!!! :D
YIKES!! 8O That's scary!! 8O

I don't think we have those where I live. I've never heard of them, anyway.
Oh, lordy, we've got tons of those things. Right now Jack (my newest sheepie but I don't have a pix yet) is licking his foot and whimpering. I must go check. ......Its OK.

Short of chemical intervention, which you don't want to do with the dogs, the cure is a shovel......dig those darn things out as soon as you think you see a seed head forming.

Booties may help for walks.

I always trim down toes during this season and of course the "private" areas. When they start licking, assume the worst. If you see a swelling, assume the worst. Sometimes I've taken the kids in and nothing was found. Apparently either the dog or I had "squeezed" it out and they were just tending the injury. Even then one still needs to wrap it to keep the tongue out of the way for awhile.
I made the mistake a few weeks back of taking Spike on a hike at Griffith Park in Hollywood. The foxtails and burrs were so bad - it took forever to get them out of his coat and thank god none got stuck too badly! I didn't know about the danger of foxtails until someone at the park actually told me how dangerous they were. When I was at the vet yesterday getting Spike neutered, they told me that the dog that stays there got one up his nose recently. I didn't realize the severity of the situation until I just read that article. Frightening!
BOOTS????? Did someone sya BOOTS???? HEHEHEHEHE :D One more reason for Tasker to keep wearing his boots!!!

I had never heard of the beastly things but then I guess that is because I live east of the mississippi!!! See there are some advantages to living in the cold north!
Some ornamental grasses have extra long awns.......think of a stalk of wheat and the long thin needle things beside the seeds........some grass species have awns that are so stiff they will penetrate completely through a dog's paw.

Yeah, living back east with the Lyme keep it. We'll stick with our Hanta virus and bubonic plague.
Kobe has obe in the top of his paw. I removed one, but it appears there is another one.

Here's another reason to call them velcro dogs, any sticker or burr in the area will get stuck to them no matter how far away.

I think I will be shaving Kobe down a little, just a short puppy cut to better spot those buggers.
amen to that. We have cottonwood trees. When the bud scales fall, they are sticky and adhere to dog's coats. Often they must be cut off.
I used to live in Northern CA and the summers were hot, dry and WINDY! I kept the foxtail plants cleared out of my yard, but the wind blew the foxtails in...the only solution I found was to take a leaf blower out to the yard and blow everything to one corner, rake and toss before I let the dogs out and then go over them inch by inch when they came back in....even doing that, I still had two incidents. One that I caught right away and the vet removed it, the second required surgery. These two were over the course of 10 years and two too many as far as I'm concerned. I can't stress enough the need to thoroughly go over every inch of the sheepdog after EACH time the dog(s) are out! I found keeping them in long coat is better as you have a better opportunity to remove them prior to their getting to the skin. Needless to say, when the temps were 100++, they stayed inside with the a/c!
I certainly don't envy you : (
We live in So. Cal. the desert where these bushes grow rampant, and I go over Kobe every day, but he finds these bushes and eats them. Eeewww, blagghh! People weeding their yards just toss these dry bushes and then they fly into my yard. I watched Kobe eat some the other day, took the bush away, gave him a little mineral oil so they don't get stuck in his stomach or intestines, or ...

I just don't get how weird some of our sheepies are. :?

Needless to say, I am watching my velcro dog and I swear while I was standing there watching him play catch with himself I saw things flying in the air get attracted and stuck to him.

I hope all of your sheepies are safe and don't require surgery, or have any foxtails at all.

Have a wonderful memorial day. :D
No foxtails in Maine and no 100++ temps!! Yippee!!
One other thing is if your dogs start sneezing...get them to the vet. Those ugly plants find their way into nostrils, ears and other places I won't even mention!
You have a great summer and I hope you have no "run ins" with foxtails!
We have foxtails in AZ, (my boss told me) but what do they look like and how will I know what to keep her away from? Do they look like those taller thingamabobbers around lakes? You have to understand that I kill fake plants and I cant tell the difference between grass and weeds :oops:
Boy, as I re-read this, I really sound plant stupid....but I guess I am...Do they grow in developed subdivisions or only rural areas????If any one can help describe these nasty thing, please feel free to help the plant challenged :D ... ail_op.jpg ... ail261.JPG
I found the above pictures and hope they help you recognize them. When they dry, they are easily transferred any and everywhere by the wind, so they grow anywhere they land! Each foxtail reminds me of arrowhead with barbs...the pointed end enters the skin and the barbs stop you from being able to remove it. It travels in one direction because the barbs hold it in....ugly buggers! : ) The plant looks fairly innocuous a clump of grass. If you can kill plants, then by all means get these! :lol:
Darcy, what part of AZ are you in? We're in Gilbert. We find a lot of burrs on Bailey but nothing that looks quite like these pictures. The burrs we find need to be cut out, but nothing that pierces the skin.
Thanks Cathy...I think I have seen those around...I just printed up the picture....I'll keep Panda clear of those things
Show Panda the pics and tell her that if she sees ANYTHING that looks like that to RUN! : )
Ha Ha Cathy....Panda probably be better at finding these things..... :D :D

Baileys mom...we live in down town phx..historic district...come visit..we can have sheepie play dates :D :D
Here in the Southwest there are 8 different grass plants that carry the name foxtail........and many more who are misidentified. All are somewhat "fuzzy" on the ends with the "fuzz" varying in length.

The two pictures above give a good representation of what we are talking about. Generally, plants designed to catch hold of a passing animal to spread its seed is going to be a problem for our K9 Kids. Plants going to seed want a big hairy dog to come.

Be aware when you have them outside. Avoid areas where you see potential problems.......and always inspect your dog after nature walks. This year is especially bad since we had the moisture over winter.....the weeds/wildflowers are abundant.
We have tons of them here and are still cleaning the yard to get the plants out. But there a still a lot of them in the dirt. Bubba doesn't even stay out side and when he come in from going potty if have to check him carefully expecially his paws. Bella had to have 2 removed by the vet last year (when i had never even heard of them) Now I check her constantly. She likes the attention though.
what happens if you don't remove the foxtail?
As stated earlier, if the awn goes into the dog, it can't come back out due to a barb. It just works it's way deeper into the dog. So one entering between the toes goes deeper into the foot, one entering via the back door goes deeper into the rectum or vagina. They can kill through blood poisoning.

Another bugger many of us have is the puncturevine, called the goat's head here. This isn't deadly but our dear K9 kids dig this out of their fur, spit them out and we step on them barefoot.

Add to this list the sand bur.........another middle of the night surprise.

Although I easily recognized the pictures of foxtail from when I lived in MT, I had never heard of the dangers - I am so glad I know!!!!
We have a ton of these in my backyard, and Walter looovees to run through them. Last summer he had them all over and he was freaking out so I had to take scissors as fast as i could and cut them all out, poor dog looked so ridiculous when I was through. Now he is absolutely not allowed to run through the brush in the back, there are just too many to find them all and dig them up.
zahra wrote:
Check this site on the dangers of foxtails to dogs

Hope this is helpful...

Foxtails have been a pain for me for over 50 years in Alaska. I have avocated finding out who brought them to be a pretty grass and burning their whole family in a huge bonfire with dancing. One of the reasons I hate them is that they will seed at any length. Mowing just angers them. Butning them does not kill the seeds. As a child I had several injuries myself. Our dogs were always in danger with them, and they were short haired. :cry: Awareness and continual watching is probably your best plan. After shaving, the fuzzy comes back. Be careful about that swollowing them. Not only is there big vet bills, but it will break your heart to hear them trying to take care of it themselves. :(
We saw these all over in MT again while we visited. While we were there my Aunt's dachshund had her eardrum RUPTURE from one . . . :cry:
Mop lover wrote:
Although I easily recognized the pictures of foxtail from when I lived in MT, I had never heard of the dangers - I am so glad I know!!!!

Me too! We have them here and a neighbor was fussing over one on Chum's face and I thought she was being overly protective. I will be much more vigilant. . . This is very scary. It is the first bad thing I've encountered about living out West.
Gday Guys! I dont have an OES (never heard that one before, like it!) But i do have a newfie, newfoundland, so i know all about those bloody foxtails. Summer here and i live on a farm so they are literally everywere. The lawn at the place im renting is more foxtail than grass! The temporary solution is to fence of a relatively seed free area and attack with herbicide. I hope it works.
Killing them is the first step. No doubt you have seed there from previous years that will germinate and start the problem anew.

Ideally you need a stronger "crop" over the top....some plant that will spread and choke out any new foxtails trying to grow and a crop that will maintain itself from year to year. Pasture, lawn, whatever.

Love your big blacks, miss our Abbott Newf and melt at the thought of a new one.........but as I told DH just Saturday, "I also am enjoying not having slobber all over the walls."
I've seen these around when we go hiking (Northern UT) but thankfully not often. The plant that I hate the most are called goat heads out here. Picture a hard little ball with 4 hypodermic needles sticking out of it and you get the idea. They are almost impossible to wipe out and have some sort of coating on them that prolongs healing and makes the wound extremely painful even after the spike is removed. :? Growing up on the east coast, I hadn't encountered either plant before moving to UT.
When we first found the tumor on Mojo's foot, my vet was hopeful that it was an evil weed embedded. He also mentioned that it either required surgical intervention or it would travel through from the bottom of his foot and out the top. It turned out to be a cutaneous histiocytoma but the entire thing was removed so he should be A-okay!!!
What kind of help is embedding into an animal really for a plant?!! I get the need to travel but obviously a seed stuck in an animal is not going to grow a new plant!!!! :roll:
An example of how evil goat head thorns are, the large ones can puncture a bicycle tire. It really stinks when mountain biking.

Utah also has another problem with cheatgrass, much like foxtails. Bad little barbs that can puncture the skin and travel, but more likely to find it's way inside via any orifice. ... tgrass.htm
Got all three in my yeard. The goatsheads end up on the fur, brought indoors only to be spit out by the grooming dog and land just where I put my bare feet. Yes, they are murder on bicycle tires! You might as well goop the inside of the tires before you start out........and remember to carry the can with you.

Sandburs are another love, Let's see there are:

cheatgrass or bromegrass,
and sandburs....
and we haven't gotten to the cactus yet!
We have so many foxtails (or the equivalent of) here in Australia its a nightmare. :twisted:
Last summer my Mom's poodle squatted to pee in grass that had foxtails in it. It took 4 months and $3000 for a number of scans and surgeries to find out that a foxtail had travelled up througth the vaginal wall and get it removed. :twisted: :twisted:
When we first moved here our country vet warned us about females and foxtails.........your story is exactly what he was talking about. Thanks to the barbs, those things don't work out, they continue migrating inward. Awful.
I have invented an article of clothing that covers the dog's ears. Works great and dogs don't mind them at all. .
greg long
I have no help for you but I do want to say I love your avatar!
As kids we use to throw those things at each other
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