Friday, June 25, 2010

Foxtails and Dogs

From time to time you'll hear me talk about foxtails. These are the most prevalent weed in our area and they can do serious damage to pets. A dog can step on one of these and get it wedged in the pad of its paw. Within a few more steps, the barbs can work their way under the skin. Next thing you know, these little burrs are traveling through your dog's internal organs. They can pierce the heart. My vet told me he treated one dog that had a foxtail working its way out of the dog's eyeball. It had gone in the paw and traveled all the way up to the dog's eye.

Anytime I see newcomers walking their dogs down the shoulder of the road in the foxtails, I stop them to educate them on the matter. You can't just walk a dog around here like people do on the sidewalks of cities and suburbs. It amazes me how many times I see someone walking a dog that is limping, and the dog walker doesn't even stop to inspect the dog's paws. We keep our dogs on our lawns, but occasionally they might sneak out and get into the foxtails on the driveway or the RV lane. The first thing we do is turn the dogs over on their backs and inspect their paws and fur. You have to remove foxtails as quickly as possible.

Sorry that the photo isn't more focused. I thought I'd just step outside before work and take a few pictures really quick, but the sky opened up and dumped a bunch of rain on me and my camera, so I had to snap the photo fast and run in the house.

This has been the worst year for us regarding the growth of foxtails. In years past, I've sprayed with poison every weekend and still couldn't prevent them from growing. However, there were actually places we could walk without stepping in them. This year there is no place where I can walk on our RV lane without getting them stuck in my socks and shoes. So, my morning routine involves feeding the horses, and then coming inside and plucking foxtails off me over a trash can. They are even sprouting up through the places where we dumped the piles of D.G. in an effort to smother them.

This year I didn't get a chance to spray any poison at all between the long winter and my work schedule. Next year I'll have to be more aggressive.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

It's awful when they start blowing around, too. Then they are out of control and even more dangerous.

I've been told foxtails are also very bad for horses to ingest because they can embed in the mouth and lodge in the throat and esophagus, and if there are enough of them, they bind together and can cause serious troubles in a horse's gut.


fernvalley01 said...

Good idea to put out the info and let people who aren't familiar with them know

lytha said...

monty you are gorgeous!

frame that one too, NM!: )

i had no idea about these insidious plants. how awful for pet/horse owners..and gardeners!

if only this plant would keep the neighborhood less attractive to the newcomers moving in and changing your quality of life.

i'm really sorry about the changes you are facing, and connot help but think how much you'd enjoy it here..... but then, i understand wanting to be in America, because I love my homeland.


Katharine Swan said...

Yeah, I can imagine they would be bad for horses too. I'm not sure if I've ever seen them. At any rate, they are apparently not as common in Colorado as they are there -- thank heavens. We still always check our dogs' feet the minute they start limping -- I can't imagine anyone NOT doing that. Do they think it's no big deal if their dog is in pain, or do they just not pay attention at all?

photogchic said...

I had no idea...I will look at them a bit differently now.

Leah Fry said...

I confess: I never heard of them. We have these nasty little burrs that are hard and sharp, but I don't know what they are. Just not botanically inclined, I guess.

Wonder if they are in Texas?

Jen said...

It's great that you posted pictures - I've heard of it but never seen it. I don't think we have any of that growing around here, thank goodness! Of course we have plenty of our own indigenous nasties that sprout up all over the pasture...