Wichita veterinarian warns of summer danger lurking in grass

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Grass awns pose danger for dogs Grass awns pose danger for dogs

A local veterinarian is warning pet owners about a tiny seed that's causing big problems.

The tiny brown seeds have many names, like foxtails, grass awns or grass seeds. No matter what you call them, Dr. Christen Skaer of Skaer Veterinary Clinic says you need to be aware of the danger they pose

"I have seen dogs come in with hundreds of them in their feet," Skaer said.

Skaer says the grass seeds can embed themselves in your pets eyes, lungs, and most commonly their feet, making their way up the inside of your dog's leg, causing a quick infection.

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"If we're lucky that will come right out. If we're not lucky then we will sedate the dog, anesthetize the dog and there are some you can't find," she said.

It's a costly expense and, in some cases, life threatening. Take Archie for example. The Wichita dog spent Tuesday sedated, while the vet removed several grass seeds from his infected back paw. The procedure cost his owner more than $140.

We stopped by the Meridian Dog Park in west Wichita. The pesky grass seeds can be seen everywhere. To our surprise none of the dog owners we spoke with knew about the problem. 

"Our dog has gotten them before in his little pads. I actually did not know it was necessarily a major problem," Jared Tangney said.

Skaer says you should check your dog's pads and between their toes every day. If they're constantly licking their paw, she says that's a sign there's a problem.

Cat owners should keep an eye out too, but Skaer says cats are such good groomers so it isn't as much of a concern.

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