Surface Creek Veterinary Center June 2019

Whether you know it as cheatgrass, Junegrass, foxtails, or Downy Brome, these bristly parts of plants like to stick to fur, and it can mean trouble for your pets. This is a topic we bring up each summer because of how many cases we see of pets hurting from awns. The hairy, bristle-like stickers grow from many grasses and varieties of wheat, and you’ll often see them dangling from your pet’s fur after they’ve been running around outside. In the worst cases, these stickers burrow into an animal’s skin and can eventually find their way inside. We’ve seen cases where awns have made their way into the ear canal, chest, and even along the spinal cord. Because of awns’ structures, they’re made to move forward into whatever they stick to, so once they’ve found their way in, they’re not coming out on their own. The area may become infected, and an abscess may form. You might notice your pet scratching at one particular spot. When this happens, they will require vet intervention and, in severe cases, surgery to remove the awn. Luckily, you can reduce the risk of awns hurting your pet. After they’ve been outside, especially in areas with long grass in the summer, do a quick scan of your pet, visual and tactile, for any awns that have stuck to them and remove any you see. (This is also good practice for ticks.) Between the toes, the belly, the armpits, and the backs of the legs are the most common areas awns stick to. Brushing their fur with a grooming brush may also help remove these offenders. Long, shaggy hair is going to give awns an easier surface to stick to, so you should also consider giving your pet a haircut for the summer. Plus, it’ll have the added benefit of helping them stay cool. Managing the Risk These Stickers Pose to Your Pet AN AWN BY ANY OTHER NAME

Far before humans had written histories, we had dogs. From hunting and shepherding to playing and relaxing, our early ancestors had canine companions by their side, and their appreciation shows. As storytelling developed around the world, our four-legged friends became important characters. Here are a few ancient legends for the historical dog lover. T ARASCAN SPIRIT DOGS Many Mesoamerican cultures featured dogs prominently in their myths and legends, especially in regard to the afterlife. One of the most notable of these comes from the Tarascan state, an empire that rivaled the Aztecs. The Tarascans believed canine spirits would search out the souls of lost humans and guide them safely out of the mortal world. Leave it to dogs to create ghost stories with happy endings. TUIREN THE WOLFHOUND In Irish folklore, Tuiren was a beautiful woman to be wed to Iollan Eachtach, but this love made Iollan’s fairy sweetheart jealous. In an attempt to ruin the young woman’s wedding, the fairy turns Tuiren into a hound and gives her to Fergus Fionnliath, a renowned dog-hater. This cruel act backfires when the Irish wolfhound wins over Fergus, teaching him to love not just her but all dogs too. In fact, the man is crestfallen when his hound is revealed to be a human. Tuiren’s nephew, the hero Fionn, cheers Fergus up with a new puppy! Good Boys of Antiquity DOGS IN ANCIENT LEGEND

We’re here to help prevent awns from harming your pet, and we offer

grooming designed to discourage awns from sticking to your pet’s fur. Give us a call if you notice a sore spot on your pet you’d

YUDHISHTHIRA’S STRAY The Indian epic “Mahabharata” is thought to date back to the eighth or ninth century B.C. and tells the story of two warring families. Toward the end of the tale, prince Yudhishthira and his family begin to ascend the Himalayas to reach heaven, and a stray dog joins them on their journey. One by one, Yudhishthira’s companions fall, until only the prince and his furry friend remain. When the god Indra finally appears to offer Yudhishthira passage into heaven, he brings bad news: The dog cannot come with him. But Yudhishthira refuses to abandon his dog, explaining that he could never leave such a loyal, steadfast companion. Anyone who’s turned down a great apartment offer because they don’t allow pets can relate.

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