Most folks are aware of the dangers of foxtails, but cheatgrass is another plant with seed awns that can attach and then burrow into our pets’ bodies, causing serious problems. This invasive species grows throughout central Oregon and can also harbor bacteria that cause infections.
If your pet goes wandering through fields or overgrown areas this summer, it’s important to check them regularly for cheat grass awns. Our own Dr. Merideth reports she has removed many of them from ears, feet, tonsils, eyes, noses, and nether regions, and warns pet owners not to ignore the signs of an embedded cheat grass awn or foxtail. They include acute head shaking, sneezing, gagging, or paw irritation.