Posted by The San Francisco Dog Walker
Tips from San Francisco Dog Walkers – Costly Foxtails
All Dog Walkers should tell you the faster you get the dog to the vet, the less it will probably cost to get the foxtail out. The reason for this is that if the vet can remove it without knocking the dog out with anesthesia, then it will be less expensive.
So, as soon as you dog shows symptons, like shaking head and holding his head to the side, licking paw, flapping ears or sneezing violently, run, don’t walk him to your vet. If the vet does not have to put the dog under to grab the foxtail the cost is around $150 for removal. However if you wait a day or two before taking the dog to the vet, the foxtail will travel further up the canal and the cost jumps up around $500 – $1,000 because the foxtail has to be surgically removed by a veterinarian. If the foxtail causes an infection because you waited, the trip to the vet could run you at least $1,000.00 to $2,000.00! Not removing the foxtail is very dangerous and can be life threatening to the dog because the foxtail penetrates the skin and moves through the bloodstream towards the heart or brain. Doing “nothing” is not an option!
Dog Walkers should always tell their clients to check their dogs for foxtails during the spring and summer months following a hike.
Foxtails come from the grasses and are in all of the parks in San Francisco. When pulled apart, the are little arrow shaped pointed stickers that it can burrow into your dogs’ paws, ears, nose, eyes and fur coat.
ON A DAILY BASIS, during foxtail season (when grasses are dry) it is VERY important to check between your dogs’ toes (look up into the cavity of each toe and feel around in there); and to thoroughly feel around in the dog’s fur for foxtails. I try my best to remove the foxtails I see after the walk, but it is always good for the owner to double check, as foxtails can and often are, missed.
If your dog begins sneezing violently, even if they stop for a day or two, they most likely have a foxtail in their nose.
San Francisco Dog Walkers share how to keep your dog from getting foxtails:
■ Keep your pet’s fur coat short, especially between the toes and around the ears.
■ Long-haired dogs are most prone to having foxtails attach to their fur and embed in the skin.
■ Avoid walking your dog in areas where dry grass is prevalent.
■ Prime areas for foxtails to penetrate the skin of an animal are between the toes, in and around the ears, nose, armpits and genitalia. Animals with foxtails under the skin are often licking the affected area where a red bump may be seen.
■ When returning home from a walk or hike in an area that might have foxtails, examine your dog thoroughly and remove any burrs or foxtails you might find before they have a chance to burrow into the skin.