Unfortunately this past weekend our Labrador Cooper fell prey to foxtail season when he got one of the spiky grass seeds up his nose.
We've been taking him to Runyon Canyon where they grow rampant for three years and he's never had an issue with them before, even though he and his friends go crashing through the dry grass and brush on a daily basis.
3 year old Yellow Labrador Cooper
With the recent hot weather all the grass has dried out and the barbed seed carriers are all too prone to get stuck to dogs coats, between paws, in ears, mouths and up snouts.
Sadly this time he wasn't so lucky and one disappeared up his nose before I could get it out. In fact he sneezed and I couldn't tell whether it had come out or gone further up his nose.
A visit the the vet couldn't tell at first either, but after waiting twenty-four hours, as the animal doctor recommended, we knew his nose needed further investigation after some severe sneezing fits. He sneezed so violently at times that he scraped and bloodied his nose on the ground.
Luckily when they anesthetised him and used a scope to explore further up his nose, they found the big foxtail quite quickly without having to intrude too far up his nose and cause too much damage or bleeding.
Potentially deadly dry grasses
By Saturday evening Cooper was back to his old self, but restricted to 'light' exercise for a few days, which lasted until Tuesday when he was chomping at the bit to get back to Runyon Canyon and his Labrador pack.
Usually Cooper has short fur making them easily visible and a coat which they naturally drop out of, but if they get embedded somewhere they can continue to burrow and either become infected or cause physical disruptions in soft tissues and organs.
My best advice to save you a $400 or so vet bill or more serious health issues, is to try and keep you dog away from the grasses on your hike (good luck with that), and at this time of year to check their coats, paws, mouth, ears and nostrils after a walk, just in case.
There's no way I can keep Cooper away from Runyon Canyon, but I suppose I'm going to have to become an even more doting dad...