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Foxtail seeds can enter a dog's body in a variety of ways and once they enter, they are like a fish hook: The seed only wants to move forward, not backward. It's most common for a foxtail seed to enter a dog's body through the skin, nose, ears, paws, and eyes. Cases have even been reported of foxtails being lodged in male dogs' urethras. One vet mentioned how a foxtail seed found in a dog's lung was believed to have entered initially through the dog's paw! Foxtail seeds are tenacious!

Foxtail seeds are relatively small, so detecting them once they enter a dog's body can be difficult. Vets usually rely on telltale symptoms. Foxtail seeds in the ears, nose, and eyes are very serious and can ultimately be life-threatening if they are not treated promptly.
If a foxtail seed has been inhaled and lodged in the nasal cavity, the dog will sneeze repeatedly and violently, often banging their nose on the floor with each sneeze in a futile attempt to dislodge the seed. It is often possible to sedate the animal, locate the seed with an otoscope, and remove it using special forceps.
If a foxtail seed is lodged in the paw or under the coat, a lump will usually form that is painful to touch. Depending on how deep the foxtail seed has traveled, they can usually be surgically removed.
When a foxtail seed get into a dog's eye, they will usually paw at the eye and the eye will water. Even if you can see a foxtail lying under the eyelid, don't try to remove it yourself! There's a good chance that you may not get it all. Keep your dog from pawing at their eye and get to a vet immediately, preferably a veterinary ophthalmologist.
If your dog gets a foxtail in their ear, they will usually shake their head violently from side to side. If you suspect a foxtail, get your dog to a vet immediately. The best way to handle foxtail problems is to prevent them!
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