Get your dog a summer clip to stave off foxtails

There's money to be made in scooping poop

Our yard is full of foxtails and I’m worried my dog will get
them in his ears (we made a lot of trips to the vet last year). My
neighbor told me I should have a groomer clip his fur short. I
thought the fur around the ears protected a dog from foxtails
getting in there. Who’s right?
Q: Our yard is full of foxtails and I’m worried my dog will get them in his ears (we made a lot of trips to the vet last year). My neighbor told me I should have a groomer clip his fur short. I thought the fur around the ears protected a dog from foxtails getting in there. Who’s right?

A:

The answer here might surprise you, but your neighbor gets it on this one. And this is one more reason to give your pooch that good “summer clip.” It’ll make him feel cooler and more comfortable in warm weather, and it will help to avoid foxtail problems in his ears.

A summer clip cuts the fur down to about a half-inch length. A short hair coat like this is less likely to snag those pesky foxtails as your pooch walks through the yard or a field full of these weeds. Hair around the opening of the ear canal actually traps foxtails and allows them to sneak into the canal. Keeping the fur trimmed away from the base of the ears provides a huge benefit to dogs, especially during the summer. Call your groomer to make an appointment and your pooch will thank you many times over. And, I’ll bet you have fewer trips to the vet this summer.

And while we’re on the subject of foxtails, I’ll remind everyone that these weeds can get in between the toes of dogs and penetrate the skin on their feet. Once inside, they can migrate under the skin, sometimes ending up in the upper leg or even higher. Worst of all, they carry infection wherever they go. So it’s extremely important to check between the toes of your dog every day if he walks in areas where there are foxtails. A few moments checking for these barbed weeds might save you a lot of money in expensive vet bills.

Q:

Our 6-year-old terrier, Tracy, likes to catch gophers. Sometimes she eats them, but usually she just brings them to us to see our reaction. We share a yard with a person who told us he had been putting gopher bait (poison) deep in the ground where Tracy can’t get to it. Still, we wonder whether or not she could be poisoned if she catches a gopher that just ate some. Is she safe?

A:

As a general rule, let’s just say that it’s never safe to put any of these poisons out where a pet can get to them. If your neighbor puts only a teaspoon of bait down into the gopher’s horizontal tunnel (using PVC pipe or some other way to get the granules deep in the ground), the danger to Tracy is minimal. By the time she digs up the area to get a gopher, she will have scattered the poison in 50 different directions and can’t get any significant amount of it.

But let’s say she finds a gopher that recently ate some of that poison. If she were to devour that rodent, there probably wouldn’t be enough poison to make her ill. The amount a gopher eats is pretty small. Still, I believe Tracy could be at risk. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t be too careful with any of these toxic substances. So either your neighbor stops putting this poison out in your yard, or Tracy stays away from that area. Don’t take any chances.

Q:

Our horse has had a sore foot for almost two weeks now. A neighbor has a horse that was lame and had something called thrush. What is this? Can it make a horse have a sore leg?

A:

Thrush is an erosive condition of the foot in horses. It’s caused by an anaerobic bacterium that destroys the tissue in the frog of the foot (in the middle of the sole). It’s most commonly seen in wet conditions like this past winter we’ve had in South County. Thrush is potentially dangerous because of its damage and because it can make a horse very sore. I’ve seen several horses that had to be euthanized because thrush had destroyed so much tissue in their feet and they were in terrible pain. This is a serious condition that should never be ignored.

The good news is that thrush is preventable and treatable. Keeping a horse on dry ground is important. And daily cleaning with a hoof pick helps prevent this infection. Treatment is much more involved and requires regular soaking and antibiotics. Recovery can be very slow.

Needless to say, your horse needs to be evaluated by an equine veterinarian to determine the cause of his lameness. Then you can develop a treatment plan that will make him pain-free once again.

Leave your comments