Foxtail danger high for pets in Northern Nevada

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RENO, NV (KOLO) - Summer is here and the number of foxtails is on the rise, potentially causing major harm to many of our furry friends.

One family from Gardnerville has a dog named Max that encountered a scary situation. Jon and Jorgeann’s 13-year-old pup got a spikelet of grass far deep into his paw, and they say if their groomer hadn't noticed it, the consequences could have been deadly.

Temperatures are warming up and the dry conditions call for a high number of foxtails. Jon Steers along with his wife waited nearly 4 hours for their dog to get the foxtail surgically removed and they realized they could have lost a member of their family.

“It can be lethal, it can get into their veins and into their blood system and work all the way through their hearts; if you don’t catch it in time a lot of dogs can catch it in their mouths and it can be even worse.”

Steers says he noticed Max was in discomfort and he was beginning to limp. and if he had waited it could have been worse. Dr. Suzanne Miller from Sierra Veterinary Specialists says this year they are seeing roughly 5-10 foxtail instances daily.

“I think that reflects that we had a nice winter and we had a lot of moisture, which is fantastic, but that allows more foxtails to grow, and as soon as the weather dries up, that is when we as veterinarians start noticing a pretty large influx of these cases.”

If your furry friend comes across an area that has foxtails, Dr. Miller says the first thing you need to do is inspect your pet.

“If you see them in their hair, coat, get them out. If your dog is chewing on them, definitely try to stop them. That is how they end up in their mouth, tonsils, or even throat, but otherwise if they get anywhere in their eye or nose, the first thing you need to do is contact your family veterinarian.”

Foxtails are known for migrating and must be treated to avoid an expensive trip to the vets.

Dr. Miller would like to remind you that as the heat continues to increase, be sure to hydrate and keep your pets in a cool spot to avoid them potentially having a heatstroke.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019