The Foxtail and my Hound

Everyone knows what a Foxtail is. It looks like a harmless fuzzy blade of grass. Grass would never hurt your pet, or could it? I never thought that walking in tall grass with my Basset Hound would have almost cost him his life.

My one year old hound was playing in the tall grass of my new home in Salt Lake City. He loved exploring his new backyard. My husband cut the grass a few days later and all was fine. A couple of days later we noticed that my dog was drooling a lot. This is common with Basset Hounds. They also have droopy jowls and a lot of skin, so we didn’t notice that his neck and throat we getting swollen. Our dog stopped eating and could not even drink water. His neck swelled up with fluid and he was having hard time breathing. We rushed him to the Vet and they operated on his throat, hoping to find what was lodged in it. They could not find anything and proceeded to put tubes in his neck to drain the fluid so he could breathe and eat. That was the 1st time. My Hound went home looking like Frankenstein and still could hardly eat or drink.

The next morning his neck was huge, full of fluid again and he could not breathe. We rushed him back to the Vet and again they looked for something in his throat and found nothing. More medicine, more tubes to drain fluid and of course more money. This was the 2nd time. He still could barely breathe and was miserable. Our oldest daughter, who is a massage therapist, was massaging his neck, hoping to make him feel better, not knowing that she was helping him all along. When my Basset Hound’s neck swelled up the 3rd time and had to have emergency surgery, we thought we were going to lose him. Finally after all this time, the Vet found that he had a Foxtail caught in his throat. My daughters massaging dislodged the Foxtail and they were able to find it. The Vet gave us the Foxtail in a little jar as a memory of the experience.

Today, my Basset Hound is a happy, healthy 5 years old and probably doesn’t remember all the pain he went through. As for me, I will never forget the look on my Basset Hounds face as I thought I would never see him again. To this day, we keep our grass very short and don’t hike in areas that have tall grass. Pet owners need to beware of Foxtails as they are pointy and sharp and can get into your dogs mouth, eyes and under their skin. I will always remember the Foxtail and my Hound.