Cheatgrass, foxtail and other grass awns are a terrible problem for pets in the Treasure Valley and surrounding areas. Not only is it a nuisance in our yards and gardens, but it can cause huge issues by getting stuck in our pet’s ears, eyes, feet, nostrils, tonsils and other places. While it is not usually life threatening, there have been a few noted cases of cheatgrass traveling into a pet’s lungs and causing fatal issues.
It may not always be possible to keep your pet away from this non-native plant, doing your best to keep your pet’s from playing in large patches and removing visible cheatgrass from your pet’s fur is advised.
These awns are often found not only on your pet’s coat, but love to find their way inbetween your pet’s toes. Once it has become lodged in an area such as this, it will poke through the skin, often causing an abscess and traveling further up the pet’s leg. Sedation is often needed to explore these wounds and hopefully find the sneaky awn, but many times it takes several attempts to remove it.
Things to watch for:
Things to watch for: Sudden shaking of head or pawing at ears
Frequent and sudden sneezing
Inability to open eyelids, or swollen eye lids
Discharge and swelling from vulva or penis
Cheat grass is the most dangerous in the summer when it has dried and turned brown, but don’t be fooled, the green pieces can still cause an issue.