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12 Nov 2019

How to avoid grass seed abscesses in your pet this spring


The grass is growing again this Spring, which means we’re in the season of bindis and grass seeds. 

This time of year we’re commonly treating grass seed abscesses in our pets. If you look closely at a grass seed head, you’ll see that they are shaped like an arrow with a very sharp point and feathered sides. Once the head lodges into your pet's skin, pain and infection can result, and it can even migrate further around the body under the skin.

Many dogs and cats love to roll and play in the grass, so the common spots we find grass seeds in our pets are the paws, in the eyes, and in the ear, but they can lodge anywhere there is skin.

Symptoms depend on where the grass seed has lodged and can include your pet shaking their head, rubbing their eyes or face, sore eye, ear infection, licking and biting at their paws or affected area, and limping.
 

Your grass seed abscess avoidance plan

  1. Mow your lawn regularly

  2. Walk on short grass and paths, avoiding walks in the long grass

  3. Regularly have long haired dogs groomed to keep fur short especially around the face, paws and ears. 

  4. Brush cats coat daily

  5. Check your little love daily. Straight after a walk spend five minutes checking your pup thoroughly from nose to tail, and remove any grass seeds you see – this gets rid of them before they can burrow into the skin. Be systematic and check the legs, arm pits, body, around the tail, face, ears and paws especially between each of the toes.

In the unhappy situation your pet has a grass seed causing infection, it needs to be removed and treated immediately. Grass seeds and resulting abscesses cause pain and discomfort, and also cause great damage to the affected area.  

Head to your local Vet for a hands on examination- it’s much easier (and cheaper!) to treat these early rather than further down the track. Sometimes, anaesthetic and surgery are needed to find and safely remove a grass seed.

Get to know Dr Claire Jenkins

Written by Dr Claire Jenkins. Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.

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† Offer available to new Woolworths Pet Insurance policyholders who purchased their policy between 7 January 2019 to 31 December 2019, limited to 1 membership per eligible policy. The 12 months free membership offer is from the date of your policy commencement provided your Woolworths Pet Insurance policy remains active during this time. VetAssist is a separate subscription based service to the Woolworths Pet Insurance product, and is provided independently by Woolworth’s third party service provider, VetChat Services Pty Ltd (VetChat). Click here for full VetAssist Service terms and conditions. Woolworths reserves the right to withdraw or extend this offer at anytime, without notice.

Benefits are subject to the terms and conditions including the limits and exclusions of the insurance policy. Cover is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 AFSL No. 241436 (Hollard). Woolworths Group Limited ABN 88 000 014 675 AR No. 245476 (Woolworths) acts as Hollard’s Authorised Representative. Any advice provided is general only and may not be right for you. Before you purchase this product you should carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement to decide if it is right for you.

Any general advice provided by Dr Harry Cooper in relation to Woolworths Pet Insurance is provided as an Authorised Representative of Hollard through an arrangement with Woolworths AR No. 1000933