The risks and signs of grass seeds


13 June 2022
The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) is running the first Grass Seed Awareness Week this month to highlight the effects grass seeds can have on our pets.

SAVSNET, based at the University of Liverpool, has undertaken a study to raise awareness of the risks and signs of grass seed foreign bodies (GSFBs) in dogs.

Researchers analysed millions of health records submitted by 245 veterinary practices across the country between March 2014 and September 2020, and discovered that although cases of GSFBs were recorded all-year-round, 90.6 per cent occurred between June and September, with July being the worst month (176 times more likely than January).

The Dogs Trust-funded study ‘Seasonality and risk factors for grass seed foreign bodies in dogs’ revealed that spaniel breed types have a greater chance (7.7 times) of presenting with a reported GSFB, compared to a retriever type, while male dogs are 1.4 times more likely to be affected.

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When it comes to location, the risk of a GSFB being reported is highest in theEast of England, and lowest in Wales. Grass seeds are easily trapped in fur and have sharp, pointed edges that allow them to burrow into a dog’s skin. They can migrate to other parts of the body, and often cause lameness, head shaking, sneezing, eye irritation, redness, discharge, swelling, and pain.