≡ Menu

Foxtail Infection or Complications… Yes, those little things can cause a ton of problems!

You don’t need to be covered in fur to know that getting foxtails stuck to you isn’t all that much fun!  After all, just imagine if that little “prick” you feel at your ankle when one of these guys gets such in your socks was happening to you all over!

“It would be terrible!”

But that’s only half the problem…

You see, if your dog really loves the outdoor, then it’s likely he or she has got those prickly grass plants matted into the fur at least a few times a week, and if left “unchecked” these grass awns or “foxtails” as they are more commonly referred to can become embedding into the furry paws of dogs and cats.

But Beware:

These aren’t “just plants” – you need to remove them asap otherwise they can cause major problems for your pup.

Clinical Signs of Foxtail Foreign Bodies – and Infections they cause

Symptoms and clinical signs are quite varied since this isn’t exactly a disease or illness – it’s just a danger that you should be aware of! These plants are more like barbed wire which is why they are so dangerous.

Image your dog eats some…

He could puncture an internal organ in the digestive tract or even his/her lungs.

If the foxtails remain in the fur…

It can cause a skin infection.

Imagine if your dog sniffs up a piece of this dangerous grass…

He/she could get a bloody nose or worse.

Here’s a breakdown of possible things to go wrong with foxtails:


In the face or head, a foxtail could injure: nose/nasal passage way, hearing, eyesight (if the eye gets scratched), or tongue. Of course, bring a foxtail near the head/mouth and it could wind up ingested…leading to a whole bunch of other problems.


If a piece of foxtail moves through the ear or nose into the brain, a number of neurological problems or even a brain hemorrhage could occur.


In case they are inhaled, your dog could wind up with a respiratory reaction. It could even puncture a lung or cause other problems like pus in the thoracic cavity. You’ll notice something wrong with your dog’s thorax if he/she is having problems breathing or is coughing quite a bit.


If foxtails are embedded in the flesh, it most often happens in the legs. This can cause skin lesions, skin wounds, etc. It can also lead to further complications if not treated right away.

This may sound pretty “worst case” scenario type of stuff and may sound like we’re overacting…but it’s been known to happen!

And if it’s avoidable…

Don’t you want to make sure your dog isn’t the rare case? You should avoid any exposure to the plant, even to the seeds!

Diagnosis for Foxtail Foreign Bodies

Because foxtail foreign bodies can cause so many different problems, it’s not that easy to diagnose. It’s important to tell your veterinarian just about everything about your dog for any type of diagnosis, including what kind of areas he/she has been playing in. If you have seen any foxtails in your dog’s coat, please mention that as well.

Cost associated with Foxtail complications

The cost of treatment can vary a ton depending on what exactly is wrong. If your dog needs surgery, that could be thousands of dollars. If he/she just needs some antibiotics, then it will be a lot cheaper.

Which brings us to…

Where we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be extremely passionate about animals and only wants what’s best for them.
And in the case…

Of a foxtail complication, this usually entails visiting a veterinarian as soon as possible so that they can minimize the damaging affects these little guys can have on the overall health of your pet.  Heck, it could also save you a ton of money in the long run as well.

Which naturally brings us…

To the last topic we’d like to introduce to you in this article which is the idea of purchasing a pet insurance policy for your pet.  This way if you pet does ever become sick or injured in the future, you might not be on the hook for 100% of his or her medical bills.

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment