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Awns in Dogs: the Acute Danger From the Grain Field

Nothing is nicer than strolling through the green landscape with your faithful four-legged friend in summer. However, the fact that one or the other danger lurks here must not be ignored. Grainfields in particular pose a high risk in midsummer when the ears of wheat ripen. You can find out here why this is the case and what to do if awns (Arista) are found in the dog.

Awns in Dogs: What is the Threat?

Awns (Arista) are a component of cereal ears and grasses. They form the end piece and have different sizes. Grain awns are a few centimeters long and easily visible. But there are also very fine awns of other types of grain or grass, the size of which is in the millimeter range.

Awns on the paw, in the ear, and in the eye

They are very uncomfortable for humans and animals if they are in the wrong place. The reason for this is hairs which, thanks to fine barbs, can get caught on clothing and fur. In addition, they are not soft, on the contrary. Like hard bristles, they are very rough and stubborn.

Dog swallows awn: Danger to life

The most dangerous are the awns of barley. These are very long and unfortunately, stick very well to your pet’s fur and to the body. Wheat usually has no awns, whereas rye also has medium-length variants. Awns are one of the most common reasons for a visit to the vet, especially in the warm season. After all, it is not that easy to remove an awn. If the awn gets into the dog’s body, it can cover a considerable distance. In the worst case, this can be fatal for the four-legged friend.

How does the awn get into the dog’s body?

The problem is that awns do not only occur on the edge of the field and on the summer meadow. They are quickly brittle in the warm season and can be carried by the wind for several kilometers. Therefore, awns can also be found in the home garden, in the bushes, or on the daily walk around. At the slightest touch, the awns can get stuck in the dog’s fur.

When a dog wants to get rid of awns, for example on the delicate skin of its neck, by simply shaking it off, the opposite often happens. They dig deeper into the skin. If the grain ears are close to the ground, it is possible that the awns get into the dog’s nose, paw or mouth. If the dog swallows the awn, you should go to the vet immediately, as it can move into the airways. If there is an awn in the dog’s paw, only surgical treatment will help. Because there it bores into the skin between the toes and moves on.

Diagnosis: Recognize Awns in Dogs

If the dog has caught awns, the following symptoms are typical:

  • If they are in the eye, the dog will pinch them. The eye will become inflamed, swollen, and reddened.
  • If an ear of wheat has penetrated the paw, the four-legged friend licks the affected area for a long time and suddenly. In addition, it is possible that he will begin to limp after the walk. A swollen paw is a clear sign.
  • Coughing and sneezing are also side effects that occur when the awn is stuck in the nose, for example.
  • If the awns get into the ears, the reaction is always a shake of the head. This is followed by scratching the ear, which causes redness. In addition, the dog tilts its head to get rid of the awn.

It is important to know that the awn immediately causes pain. The dog will try to shed it by all means.

Treatment: Remove Awns

To remove awns from dogs, an emergency kit with tweezers and disinfectant is helpful. It is important, however, that you only lend a hand when the ear of wheat is clearly visible. If it is already too deep in the skin, you can rarely pull it out on your own without leaving any residue.

Pull ointment against awns in the paw

The treatment of an awn in the paw, which is already deep, is a little more complicated. It usually cannot be removed immediately, nor should you do it. The vet uses pulling ointment for an awn in the dog’s paw. With a paw bandage, the area in question is first protected. If the ointment does not work, the vet will anesthetize your darling and surgically remove the awn.

Awns in the dog’s ear

Particular care should be taken when removing an awn from a dog’s ear. If it is too close to the eardrum, it can have serious consequential damage. It is not only conceivable that the ear damages the ear canal, but also triggers inflammation and leads to permanent hearing damage.

Awns in the nose

The same applies if you want to remove an awn from the dog’s nose. Often the bristles get caught in the mucous membrane so badly that it is not possible to pull the ear out without any problems. In such cases, you should definitely consult the veterinarian. Only he can stop the awn before it reaches vital organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs. It can cause irreparable damage there and even lead to the death of the animal.

Prevention: Protection Against Awns

If you’re looking to avoid a dog awning treatment this summer, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Search the dog’s fur

You should examine your dog after every walk. Awns are often not immediately visible. Therefore, special attention should be paid to body orifices and the behavior of the dog to be observed.

In long-haired animals, make sure that the hair between the toes is short. This means that fewer awns get caught in your paws and it is easier to check your feet after a walk. By the way, cutting hair short is particularly important for breeds with drooping floppy ears.

Avoid fields and meadows

In order to rule out a potential risk factor, it makes sense not to let your four-legged friend run around in fields, meadows, and arable land. In addition, the edges of fields and paths, as well as bushes, are taboo zones in the hot season.

Mowed fields and parched roadsides are also to be avoided. There are many awns close to the ground so that they can quickly get into the airways.

Awns in Dogs in Brief

  • Awns are part of the ears of grain and have fine, pointed hairs with barbs;
  • When going for a walk, fur noses can quickly catch one or more awns;
  • Barbed awns are a major nuisance for animals, especially in summer;
  • Awns can cause very serious injuries to the ears, nose, and the rest of the dog’s body.

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