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The Foxtail and the Hound
#1
Years ago, before Fiona was mine, she started incessantly licking one paw.  Her owners were not much concerned, but I kept cleaning it and adding some neosporin, but it became infected and I convinced them she needed to see a vet.

The owner had too much going on, and I said I'd take her.

The vet was like, hmm heres a foxtail in her fur, here's another.  hmmmmmm.
She  wound up anesthetizing the area while I immobilized her footie and then dug some forceps inside the wound and pulled out a soggy foxtailand a bunch of puss and blood followed, and 2 days later it appeared 99% healed.  I was already bonded with this dog but after this vet visit, much more so.

A few years later they were having marital issues, were like: 'Fiona's always been your dog, she loves you, you love her, take her, or we have another family who will.' 

I took her even though i thought it a bit cruel to take her from the home and gated yard she grew up in.  We both quickly adapted to the new situation.

The foxtails are everywhere near where we reside. I cut em down raked and vaccuumed them up, then it rained again and they grew back 2x as thick.  I let her know the worse areas were off limits, which she seemed to understand, and stepped up my inspections of her fur.

A few days ago we are gong for a walk, and she stops in the shade of a tree and lifts her foot to her face. i go over and she rolls on her back and I inspect her foot, spread her paws, and could see nor feel nothing.  I got up, so did she and all appeared well, no limp, no signs of distress.

The night before last  I see she is licking that same paw's underside. I bust out the 700 lumen headlamp and reading glasses, and trim all her fur in the area she was licking. i see a wound, i clean it with hydrogen peroxide, spread some polysporin on it and make her sleep on my bed where I can insure she does not lick it off.

Next morning it is no better, perhaps worse. I keep it clean, borrow a child's sock to keep it clean and hope for the best.

This morning I peel off the sock, and puss and blood surround the area.  Dang.

So I goto the same vet.

Saturday
Doctor is not IN, but could be, for 500$ on top of regular fees, which were over $350 the last foxtail incident.  Assistant looks at  freshly cleaned wound, and says it is not an emergency, gives recommendation on  Vet places nearby that might be open.  I goto 3 different vets.  The doctors are not in or too busy to check her before closing. One more assistant looks at it and says to continue  do what I have been doing and make an appointment for Monday.

These foxtails are barbed burrowers that will keep working themselves deeper.    I was not 100% sure it was a foxtail but was suspecting it more and more and another 48 hours for this thing to work its way deeper while infection gets worse, is hardly desirable but short of an 850$ committment, there is little option. 

I start cleaning it and the baby's sock every few hours, and trying to limit her motion, and the last time I do so it seems that the same distance as the length of a foxtail body from the main wound, there is a red spot, like a foxtail head was right there pushing against the skin.

I have some friends husband and wife who are a doctor and a nurse.  She is a dog person, and dog people love Fiona.  Heck, cat people love Fiona.  I tell her my suspicions that it is indeed a foxtail and that if I could slice the skin next to the new emerging red spot, I could grab the head of the foxtail and pull it out or push it out with blood and puss like a big zit.
  But such a job requires 4 hands.

She was like, well lets take a look. I remove the bootie, clean it again, show her the area all while Fiona keeps pulling her foot away.  The most tender spot is apparently the newly developing red spot.  I now use reading glasses but did not have them on me. I was manipulating her paws so as to give maximum visual exposure, and then squeezed it at the base like a Zit, and the nurse was like ' that is not her fur!"  which i had cut short.  I spread her paw pads a bit further apart squeezed a bit harder at the base of the new red spot and she clamped her fingernails together in there and ripped out the foxtail from the back.

I released Fiona and immediately she inspected the softened foxtail on the napkin, and started wagging her tail.
  Big relief for both of us. 

I hope that was all of it, but a few hours later and the swelling is 90% gone and is no just slightly pink.

I'm keeping it clean and under polysporin and a new kids sock bootie over it overnight.

I'll have to up my inspection schedule while these things are still dry and sharp and attach to anything like velcro and try and clear them from areas she might visit, even though that is like picking fly shit from the pepper.

Dang things are nearly the same exact color as her fur, but I definitely missed one on inspection prewalk and it is my fault this thing burrowed into her footie in between the paw pads.

Bad human!
 Bad!

What came out of her paw is on the left, on the right is a new foxtail pulled from the weed itself.  I'm hoping the missing 1/3 did not make it inside her footie, but instead sheared off on its way in.

We just went for another walk and there was a new spring in her step, so hopefully that is the case.

   

   
[-] The following 7 users say Thank You to sternwake for this post:
  • Scott7022 (08-11-2019), GypsyDogs (08-11-2019), rvpopeye (08-11-2019), Queen (08-11-2019), heron (08-11-2019), Texjbird (08-11-2019), CatPerson (08-11-2019)
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#2
I so love kindness.
Beast Master,JunkyMonkey,Drinks with Wolves,Fup'd Duck,Sheriff Ricochet Cockroach 4B's 1 cluster,3 TFMS Tempory Weirdo Overlord replacement 
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to Scott7022 for this post:
  • heron (08-11-2019), Texjbird (08-11-2019)
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#3
She really looks like a sweet doggy Stern. Have you thought about booties for her to wear?
monkeyfoot
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#4
Well done! Those foxtails are bastards!!
Perhaps, during this part of the year, have her groomer give her poodle feet-high water style. (Aka Shave her feet up to her carpal pads in front and mid hock in back) It is Just hair, and will grow back in a few months. Will also make finding and removing the bastards much easier.. Hugs and skritches to Fiona
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[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to GypsyDogs for this post:
  • heron (08-11-2019)
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#5
Hmmmm
Good Job ....Dr. Stern......Dr. Wake ?

Doctor DAD !
Stay Tuned
rvpopeye



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#6
Good human, good dad!
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#7
Nicely done.
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#8
fine job and great caregiver
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#9
I used to work for a veterinarian in SoCal ("Foxtail Capital of the World") many years ago.  They don't just get in the feet, but anywhere they get lodged in the haircoat with the point aimed in the right direction.  

The next most common place is in the ear canal, so if you have a dog that has hair growing in the ears (like poodles) make a habit of pulling it out routinely, using a pair of forceps if you can't do it with your fingers; it comes out easier over time.  If you see your dog with his head tipped to one side, a foxtail is a likely reason. 

They can also go up the nose, and if they're not removed quite soon, they shift beyond reach and will be in there forever, a misery until they die.

Under a microscope, you will see that foxtails have tiny barbs all along the main shaft, so it can only move forward, never backwards.
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#10
I looked them up, and there was an xray that showed the damn thing's trail from the foot, through the ankle and 3/4 of the way to the knee!
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