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I know that foxtails piercing the skin can be a cause of discospondylitis (spinal infection).
 

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Its grass awn season. Dogs I've had previous to GSD were flop eared breeds. They would get foxtails in their ears migrating down the ear canal and had to removed by a vet with an otoscope and some special hemostats. I wonder about GSDs with their big, upright ears- do they tend to shake foreign objects out before they go down the ear canal?
 

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You have my sympathies. Never heard of foxtails before moving to Northern California and they were a nightmare. IME Foxtails can go anywhere and the consequences can be deadly if you don't know they're there or they aren't found before causing serious problems.

I once actually saw one of my females stick her nose in a stand of them and, before I could get to her, she'd inhaled one up her left nostril. Off to the vet immediately where they sedated her and were able to extract it, via her nostril, before it could do much damage. Thank God I'd seen it happen. That she'd been shaking her head on the way to the vet had only facilitated the the foxtail's movement upward; I imagine you'd risk the same thing in ear canals. Hate those things!

Aly
 

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Didn't read the entire article but have cheat and foxtail here. Yes, a big deal for GSDs as they work their way into the fur and then into the skin and they can continue to migrate to internal organs. I have had a few friends who lost their dogs to this issue.

I try and keep my two in the yard from May through at least the end of September. I do have some there as well as in my folks' back yard. They are also growing next to sidewalks and other paths. The girls escaped the kennel the other day (thank you Miika for showing me that you can now open the kennel and escape the yard when you put yourself to it) while we were bucking hay out of the field. Only spent about 3 hours that night picking cheat and foxtail out of their coats. I have had to spend about 3 hours a piece, so I was lucky this time.

My previous dog (29" Akita/GSD) got clipped each year before they they became a problem. I didn't have a fenced yard back then. If I was late getting it done I would have to remove that which was already becoming imbedded in his skin. Always check between the toes and from chin to the scrotal area. Any place that leads including knees and around the point of the shoulder. For females be sure to check around the creases of the vulva.

Yes it can go up their noses and in their ears. Many do sneeze or shake them out, but they will still have a droop to the ear/head after it is out. Like a phantom feel there for a day or so but without the head shake.

Hate those things. Work their way into your socks, shoes, any piece of clothing. Not fun when only the point is out and the rest is embedded in your bra cup!
 

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You have my sympathies. Never heard of foxtails before moving to Northern California and they were a nightmare. IME Foxtails can go anywhere and the consequences can be deadly if you don't know they're there or they aren't found before causing serious problems.

I once actually saw one of my females stick her nose in a stand of them and, before I could get to her, she'd inhaled one up her left nostril. Off to the vet immediately where they sedated her and were able to extract it, via her nostril, before it could do much damage. Thank God I'd seen it happen. That she'd been shaking her head on the way to the vet had only facilitated the the foxtail's movement upward; I imagine you'd risk the same thing in ear canals. Hate those things!

Aly
Same here last year and one in the ear the year before. Foxtails suck especially for a natural hunter!
 
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