It’s not uncommon for grass seeds to cause bacterial infections in your dog’s paws, usually between the toes. By the time the infection is recognisable, the grass seed will have disappeared or been dislodged, probably by the dog itself. As our founder and head vet, Dr Scot Plummer, points out, if left untreated, the infection can lead to serious and painful results, not to mention costly treatment.
That’s why he’s highlighted the proper way to treat grass seed abscesses and prevent further complications:
For inflammation caused by bacterial infection, it can be effective to prescribe cortisone (prednisolone) by pills or with an injection. Cortisone will help reduce the inflamed area and also enable your dog to manage the pain better, since it is a steroid. This usually clears the infection if it hasn’t progressed to a wider-spread infection. You may have to see your vet again after 48 hours to ensure the cortisone has worked properly.
When the grass seed abscess is a larger ball-like structure between your dog’s toes, it could indicate that the infection has taken hold more firmly and your dog’s antibodies are not working as effectively as they should be. In this case, your vet should prescribe a course of antibiotics to help fight the bacterial infection. These drugs are generally effective in treating abscesses.
Removing the abscess under surgical conditions is not common since such infections are bacterial and can be treated properly with penicillin and a dose of cortisone medication. However, in some cases, the abscess is too deep and infected for medication to work effectively. The level of pain of your dog is in due to the abscess may lead you to decide on surgery. It is a simple procedure, but antibiotics will probably still be dispensed after the operation.
For the sake of your dog, it is important to insist that you are present when the vet performs the exam or elects to remove anything obstructive between your dog’s toes. Remember, your dog is already in a painful, uncomfortable way; which is why we strongly recommend owners to be present, patting and soothing their dog while the vet proceeds with the examination. We also strongly recommend that should your vet deny you admittance into the exam room, you should seriously consider going to another vet.
For more information about how we care for your animals, contact the South Eastern Animal Hospital on (03) 9544 6979 for more information and assistance.
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