Salt Lake City / Taylorsville Utah's
Redwood Veterinary Hospital
Foxtail Grass

Foxtails - Serious Issues for Salt Lake City area Cats

Summertime Hazards for Salt Lake Cats

Foxtail:
A grass containing flowering spikes.

The flowering spikes can be dangerous for outdoor cats. Indoor cats are pretty safe from foxtails. The spikes can enter about any part of your cat and cause extreme discomfort. The barb on the plant hooks under the cats skin and once in the skin can only move forward, not back out. The spikes are most commonly found in your cats toes, ears, and under their eyelids. Foxtails are are everywhere especially from June to October. Removal of foxtails is a common procedure for Salt Lake City veterinarians.

Here are some common ways to prevent foxtails for your cat:

  1. Periodically, check your cats toes for foxtails. Make sure you carefully check between all toes.
  2. Check your cat's ears for foxtails

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • If your cat is frequently shaking his head, he could have a foxtail lodged in their ear. Frequent scratching of the head is also an indicator. Foxtails can lodge deep in the ear canal - your veterinarian can check for this with a special scope.
  • Watch for your cat to squint or have behaviors that indicate an irritation in the eye. This can be a foxtail lodged under their eyelids.
  • Check your cats toes if they are frequently licking or chewing on their toes or legs. Watch for limping or any sign of pain in a foot.
  • Foxtails can lodge inside the nose. If your cat frequently sneezes or if there is a discharge coming from the nose, this can also be a sign of a foxtail.

If you cannot remove the foxtail with tweezers, you will need to contact your veterinarian. Once the foxtails are stuck under the skin, they create an abscess with a draining tract (hole) where the foxtail entered. If it has reached this stage, sedation and removal with special tools becomes necessary. Your cat will then need antibiotics and pain medicine to help them recover.

Salt Lake City Veterinarians
Taylorsville Animal Hospital since 1982