dog spikelet

Spikelets your dog in danger: What you need to know about spikelets to protect him

Reading time : 3 minutes

The spikelets are small pointed stems which grow in fields, meadows. They can be very dangerous for dogs, because they can sneak into their skin and cause serious infections. Spikelets are more likely to get stuck in dogs' ears, noses, mouths and paws. They can also get stuck in the eyes and tail. If a spikelet gets stuck in a dog's skin, it can cause infection, inflammation and pain. In some cases, spikelets can even cause nerve damage or fractures.

In our parks, gardens and walking paths, spikelets, these small herbs seemingly innocuous, can become a formidable enemy for our four-legged friends. Dogs, often curious and playful, are particularly exposed to this insidious danger. As responsible owners, it is essential to know the risks represented by spikelets and to adopt good practices to protect our canine companions.

What are spikelets and where are they usually found?

Spikelets, also known as "awns" or "awns", are parts of theear of certain herbs present in our outdoor environments. These small arrow-shaped structures, with pointed barbs, allow them to easily attach to hair animals, including our dogs.

They are mainly found in meadows, lawns, fields, roadsides and hiking trails. When the spikelets are mature, they detach from the mother plant and disperse in the environment, ready to cling to anything that comes within their reach.

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Risks for dogs

Spikelets can cause many health problems in dogs. When a dog comes into contact with a spikelet, it may simply attach itself to the coat, mainly in areas where the hair is longer and denser, such as the ears, armpits, legs and belly.

Once attached to the coat, the spikelet can progress towards the skin, leading to skin irritations, redness and itching. In some cases, the spikelet can even pierce the skin and penetrate inside the animal's body.

The parts of the body most affected by spikelets are ears. When a spikelet enters a dog's ear, it can cause a severe and painful ear infection. If the spikelet is not promptly removed, it can lead to serious ear infection and even permanent hearing loss.

dog spikelet

Symptoms to watch out for

It is essential to watch our dog carefully after each outdoor walk, especially in areas where spikelets are common. Certain symptoms indicate the presence of a spikelet on or in the animal's body:

  1. Licking or chewing excessive in a specific area of the body.
  2. Restlessness and moaning frequent, particularly if they affect the ears.
  3. Frequent and persistent head shaking.
  4. Discharge of pus or blood from the ears or nostrils.
  5. Swelling, redness or skin sores accompanied by local heat.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, consult your veterinarian immediately. Early removal of the spikelet can avoid more serious and costly complications.

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How to prevent problems caused by spikelets

Fortunately, a few simple preventative measures can help protect our canine friends from spikelets:

  • Inspect your dog's coat regularly, especially after going outdoors. Run your fingers gently through the hairs to detect the possible presence of spikelets.
  • Cut long hairs around ears, paws and other sensitive areas, being careful not to injure your dog.
  • Avoid areas where spikelets are abundant, especially during periods when they are mature and shed easily.
  • Opt for early morning walks or late in the evening when the dew makes the spikelets less “sticky”.
  • Use protective netting for outings in environments with a high risk of spikelets, especially for dogs with floppy ears.
Spikelets your dog in danger

Treatment of injuries caused

Treatment depends on their location and severity. If you suspect the presence of a spikelet on your dog or observe symptoms related to this plant, it is essential to promptly consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Here are the different treatment approaches depending on the case:

  1. Removal of visible spikelet: If you spot a spikelet on the surface of your dog's coat and it has not yet penetrated the skin, you can try gently removing it with tweezers, being careful not to break it up. Be sure to disinfect the area after removal.
  2. Removing a spikelet in the ear: If you suspect a spikelet has lodged in your dog's ear, do not try to remove it yourself, as this could make the situation worse. Take your dog to the veterinarian, who has the proper equipment to safely remove the spikelet and relieve the irritation.
  3. Removing a spikelet from under the skin: If you notice a small opening in your dog's skin and think a spikelet has entered it, do not attempt to remove it yourself. You risk pushing the spikelet deeper, causing more lesions. See a veterinarian immediately for professional extraction.
  4. Treatment of infections: If the spikelet has caused a skin infection, such as an abscess, the veterinarian will clean the affected area, prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection, and administer painkillers to relieve the pain.
  5. Treatment of serious cases: In more serious situations where the spikelet has migrated to internal organs, surgical treatment may be necessary. The veterinarian will perform an intervention to remove the spikelet and treat any complications.
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In short

Spikelets may seem insignificant, but they pose a serious danger to our beloved dogs. Inasmuch as responsible owners, it is our duty to take preventive measures to protect our canine companions from spikelets. Regular attention, careful inspections and preventative measures can help preserve the health and well-being of our loyal four-legged friends.

  • Florence Luberton

    Florence Luberton, a passionate pet lover and pet owner. Florence has dedicated her life to educating pet owners on the best ways to care for their furry companions. From training, nutrition, to grooming and behavior, she has a wealth of knowledge that she loves to share with pet owners to help them better understand their animals.

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