Foxtail grasses, are known by a variety of names including wild barley, needle grass, spear grass, and foxtails. The grass is characterized by it's distinctive top that resembles a fox's tail. They are found along the foothills, canals and just about anywhere that you can find weeds in Utah. Our wet winters can lead to a spring with lots of foxtails throughout the valley.
The flowering spikes are a common threat to outdoor dogs that can be dangerous and painful for any animal. The spikes can enter about any part of your dog and cause extreme discomfort. The barb on the plant hooks under the dogs skin and once in the skin can only move forward, not back out. The spikes are most commonly found in your dog's toes, ears, and under their eyelids. During the spring, removal of foxtails from cats is a common procedure for veterinarians throughout the state of Utah.
If you cannot remove the foxtail with tweezers, you will need to contact your veterinarian. Once the foxtails are stuck under the skin, they create an abscess with a draining tract (hole) where the foxtail entered. If it has reached this stage, sedation and removal with special tools becomes necessary. Your dog will then need antibiotics and pain medicine to help them recover.