Updated: Nov 9, 2019
In Summer here in Melbourne there's a few (extra) things dog us owners need to worry about.
1. Extreme heat: ie sometimes, it gets to super boiling temperatures - like high 30's to low 40's is not unusual.
On such hot days - actually anything over 35degrees Celsius really, don't take your dogs out; make sure they have plenty of access to water and shade and, if possible, keep them inside in the air conditioning. Even after it has cooled down, be careful when you walk them as the footpaths, roads and sand etc can still retain the heat.
Click on the image below to read our earlier blog post called "Dogs Die in Hot Cars" where you will learn a lot more about heat stress and dogs.
2. Swimming at the beach: Ingesting salt water. Too much is dangerous. Ingesting puffer fish. Deadly. Being stung by jellyfish. Painful. Snakes. Deadly.
3. Grass Seeds. The scourge of dogs (and cats) and summer. I only really know this because I had to take Finn to the vet for grass seed removal. I kind of knew grass seeds were bad but have never had an issue with them (touch wood) until now.
This post is really about the nastiness of grass seeds.
On Boxing Day, we took the dogs to Rosebud for a few days. Where we were staying, there were so many grass seeds it was ridiculous. We were meticulous about getting them out of their coats - checking their paws, ears etc. We were very pleased with ourselves.
Fast forward to this morning - just 5 days later and I was patting Finn. Luna came up for a pat too and snuffled his neck for an extra long time. Poking and poking with her nose at his neck. It was not normal for her so I had a feel where she was poking around and there was a lump. Immediately I thought that she had sniffed out cancer (uplifting thought hey?). Anyway, I mentioned a lump to Stan, my husband, and he said yes, "I felt a lump this morning" but then he said it was on Finn's side. I said no - it was on his neck. So, we investigated - as soon as we looked properly and saw a red spot in the middle I said I bet it's a grass seed. Stan gave the side one a squeeze and a little bit of stuff came out. We then looked at the neck - similar and so put some betadine on both sites. Examined him all over and couldn't find anything else.
Examined Luna, didn't find anything. Then I went online and researched grass seeds in dogs. It is dire. Check out this great video which demonstrates how easily the grass seed works its way into your dog
Here is Dr Stan (not really - just my husband) doing a thorough examination today after we found the lumps and finding a few extra seeds that we had missed.
Finn at the vet - after his initial examination. Still feeling happy.
The vet shaved a couple of the sites. He was still happy.
The vet squeezed one of the side sites and the big grass seed came out like Dr Pimple Popper! I needed a warning on that one.
She then found three more sites on top of the two we had found. So under anaesthetic he went. They removed 5 or 6 - not sure as some were fragmented. Here they are in the specimen jar!
He is home now - feeling sad and sorry. He has a course of antibiotics, some anti-inflammatories and pain relief to get him through the next few days. He has to go back for suture removal in ten days. On top of that, of course, the vet can't guarantee they got everything so we have to keep an eye on it all - even more diligently than we have been already.
Here is a fantastic article from Australian Dog Lover about grass seeds and dogs - just click on the image below.
I guess the main reason I am posting about this is to warn people of the dangers of grass seeds - they can actually kill your dog - and to carefully check them over every day.
These are the type of grass seeds that went into Finn - the above is a screenshot from Tamworth Veterinary Hospital website that you might also find helpful.