Tag Archives: vets

Foxtails and Your Pets-Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo

This time of year, many dog owners are hitting trails to enjoy the beautiful weather with their canine friends.  Unfortunately, a fun day on the trail can turn into a painful experience for your pooch from a seemingly innocent source.

Foxtails are a frequent sight on trails, open spaces and yards in Southern California.  These invasive weeds are named for their clusters of spiked seed pods which resemble the tail of a fox.  Foxtails usually appear in our landscape in early spring.  Like the rest of San Diego county, they start out soft and green but by then end of the season they have dried to a brittle brown.

The dried, spiked clusters of the foxtail eventually break down into individual spikelets.  The pods are spiked and barbed, qualities that help them penetrate the tough San Diego ground.  Unfortunately, these qualities also allow them to wreak havoc on your pets.

Foxtails are a common emergency in veterinary medicine this time of year.  When a dog comes in contact with a foxtail, the barbs along the spikelet attach to the fur.  These barbs allow the foxail to move only one way: forward, while the sharp tip on the spikelet allows it to pierce skin or penetrate dense fur.

Foxtails will attach to almost any part of the dog that brushes against them.  Common sites of infestation are ears, eyes, nose, and between the toes.  They can also burrow beneath the skin along the body on thick coated dogs.  Occasionally veterinarians even see foxtails buried in tonsils or under the gums of dogs who enjoy chewing on these plants. 

Once embedded, these seeds rarely work their way out.  Their burrowing properties wreak havoc on infected pets and continue causing painful damage until they are removed. Veterinary intervention is usually required to treat foxtail infestation.  Sedation or surgery may be necessary, along with treatments to help with pain and infection resulting from “foreign body” invasion.

Signs of foxtails include:

A painful, infected ear

Head tilting or shaking

Acute, severe sneezing

Nasal discharge or bleeding

Squinting, painful eye

Red, painful bumps between toes or under the skin

There are some simple steps that owners can take to help their dog avoid a painful foxtail experience.  The simplest prevention is to avoid them altogether.  We find foxtails along trails, in open spaces, and in unlandscaped areas.  They are common in late spring through summer and can be identified by their bushy clusters of spikes resembling the tail of a fox. Foxtails can even be found in our yards, so carefully inspect unlandscaped areas for these invaders.
Even if you practice diligent avoidance, carefully check your pet after walks or hikes.  Common sites of infestation are between the toes, the legs, the underbelly, the eyes, and the nose.  With long coated dogs, it is a good practice to brush them out after hikes, as well.  Keeping your pet’s feet trimmed short can help prevent these dangerous hitchhikers; some owners even purchase hiking boots for their dogs to protect their feet on trail.

Dogs are not the only ones affected by foxtails.  Occasionally we see outdoor cats who have picked one up.  We most commonly see foxtails invade cats’ eyes, under their third eyelid.  Symptoms include painful swelling, redness, and discharge out of one eye.

Foxtails are not only painful but can be very damaging to your pet.  If you think your pet may be infected, contact your veterinarian immediately to prevent further pain and injury.

-Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com

Rattlesnake season is upon us! Advanced Veterinary Care is offering a Discount on Vaccine

Rattlesnake Vaccine

Rattlesnake season is upon us!

Unfortunately, hot summer weather dramatically increases rattlesnake activity in our beautiful hills, putting us and our pets in potential danger.

What can you do to protect your dog? Here are some tips:

  • Vaccinate your dog with the rattlesnake vaccine.
  • Keep your dog on leash, and near the center of the trail whenever possible.
  • Work with your dog to ensure he comes when he is called, so that if you hear or see a snake, you can get your dog away quickly and effectively.
  • Stay on wide, established trails instead of hiking through areas where snakes can easily hide.
  • Don’t allow your dog to burrow, sniff around in bushes or otherwise try to tangle with wildlife.
  • Consider installing snake-proof fencing on your property.

Signs of a snake bite include puncture wounds from the fangs of the snake, bruising, rapid swelling and pain. If you suspect your dog may have been bitten, immediately seek veterinary attention; if at all possible call ahead, so our veterinary team can prepare. The doctors and staff at Advanced Veterinary Care are experienced at treating rattlesnake envenomation and are prepared to provide aggressive care for your pet, including anti-venom, in the event that they are bitten.

The rattlesnake vaccine is not indicated for every dog. Dr. Riehl and Dr. Thomas are happy to make a recommendation as to whether or not your dog should be vaccinated based upon his or her lifestyle and degree of potential exposure. Please call our office today at 760-736-3636 to schedule an appointment for your dog’s vaccine or to find out if the vaccine is recommended for your pet. Dogs who have never been vaccinated for the rattlesnake vaccine will need a booster in 2-3 weeks from the first vaccine. Both vaccines will be discounted by 50% if performed within the month of July.

Offer good through July 1st-31st. The discounted cost of the vaccine is 14.50. Vaccinated animals still require timely, aggressive emergency care in the event of a bite.

Advanced Veterinary Care is committed to your pet’s health and safety this summer.

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo Hills

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com