Visiting the Vet – Hunt the Foxtail

Yet another interesting case for Dr. Jim.

As soon as it was time to say ‘goodbye’ to Ace the cat then in came an entirely different case.

1020 – Back to dogs!

This was Millie, a pit mix, who had been dropped off at the Clinic earlier on. Millie’s owner said that there appeared to be something troubling Millie’s ears. Millie was, indeed, shaking her head a great deal.

Jim established that it was Millie’s left ear that was the source of the irritation. This was immediately obvious since Millie cried as soon as Jim touched that left ear.

The first examination didn’t identify anything that might be the cause. But apparently the endoscope had such a narrow field of view that it was easy to miss an irritant. Time for another, more extensive examination using that same endoscope.

This time the problem was identified. A foxtail that had penetrated Millie’s ear so deeply that the seed-head had pierced Millie’s eardrum.

Carefully, oh so carefully, Jim pulled the foxtail out from Millie’s ear. I couldn’t believe just how large it was.

About an inch (2.5 cm) long.

I was unable to grab a photograph of Millie’s face once the foxtail had been removed. Trust me it was a face full of doggie smiles.

But I can’t move on to the next patient without remarking how Millie was so beautifully behaved. How maligned the Pitbull and Pitbull Mixes are!

10:45 All done with Millie!

To be continued:

(Please note: These observations are mine alone and because of the busy environment it must be assumed that my interpretation of what was taking place might not be totally accurate. Nothing in this blog post should be used by a reader to make any medical judgment about an animal. If you have any concern about an animal do make an appointment to see a properly qualified veterinarian doctor.)

19 thoughts on “Visiting the Vet – Hunt the Foxtail

  1. Actually, my Lab had a small foxtail trapped in her third eye. I feel Millie’s pain. You are right, Paul. Pit bulls are a maligned breed. They are sweet dogs. Another great share.


  2. Just as painful when snuffed up the nose and imbedded in the airway….the vet in that case used a ball of squished cooked asparagus (slightly bigger in diameter than the dog’s trachea size), popped into the dogs mouth and made it swallow. The mucus like mush grabs anything that causes the dog irritation near the oesophagus and is either carried into the stomach, or (as in this case) is thrown up by the dog. Neat little trick to know if you are a long way from your vet and your dog is sneezing and coughing…but always get a vet check if your dog is still coughing afterwards.


  3. Those foxtails are certainly something awful. And I agree about the breed. My niece has 2 that are sweethearts, several friends have them and they are also lovely.


  4. My cairn terrier had one of those foxtails in his ear canal. Very distressing. As with the very brave Millie, the vet was able to remove it fairly easily but I remember her commenting that many dogs have to be put under for these seed heads to be completely removed.
    Unfortunately, in Australia, Pit Bulls have been unfairly maligned by the Government and it is illegal to breed or import them.


    1. Yes, later on Jim mentioned that might have been the next step for Millie. Presumably the situation in Australia regarding Pit Bulls is a result of a few being trained specifically as fighting dogs. I guess that also applies to Tasmania?


  5. Millie is a sweetheart and beautiful and has caring and competent owners. I see how sleek she is and what a beautiful color. Dr. Jim is an excellent vet. I know that some vets would have sent her home with medication without looking to actually find the source of pain and irritation. I like these vets visits that you are doing. Very nice.


  6. We ❤︎ pitties. They are indeed much and unnecessarily maligned. Those cotton-picking fox tails (grass awns) are such a pain. They can embed in a dog and even transmit through the blood stream! We HATE them! Some dogs get them up their nose. Bad stuff.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.