Diagnosis: Foxtail in eye
One night we received a phone call from an owner who found something sticking out of his cat Rudy's eye…something that looked like a splinter or a piece of dry grass! Obviously anything having to do with the eye, and especially with a foreign object sticking out of the eye, requires immediate veterinary attention! Right away an appointment was scheduled for Rudy to see Dr. Trevor Miller.
Stefanie, our phone receptionist who took the call, thought the object sounded like a foxtail—a dangerous piece of dried, barbed grass. As animals move through the grass, the barbs stick to their fur and pierce the skin. Common areas on the body pets get foxtails are the nose, between the paws, and in the eyes. Sneezing repeatedly after playing outside is a symptom of an inhaled foxtail. What makes them so dangerous is that the foxtail continues to burrow deeper in the body; the barbs on the foxtail keep it from being expelled by the body. Foxtails have traveled as far as the lungs and even the brain. It is extremely common to see pets during the summer months for foxtails. We’ve already removed over 160 foxtails this summer alone!
When Rudy arrived, our exam room technician Liza took one glance in the carrier and identified the object as a foxtail on site. Deciding not to waste a single moment, she took the kitty directly back to Dr. Miller in treatment. Rudy was actually very calm and sweet and sat patiently as our veterinary technicians gently held him for Dr. Miller. Very carefully he removed the foxtail. He followed up the removal with a thorough examination of the eye. To help prevent infection, antibiotics were prescribed.
A foxtail in the eye is a serious and frightening situation but our staff and Dr. Miller worked together and had Rudy taken care of in a matter of minutes! While we frequently treat dogs for foxtails, this case proves that cats are not immune to their dangers. If your pets go outdoors make sure to keep an eye out for foxtails by checking over their paws and coat. If your pet is sneezing frequently or is licking at their paws repeatedly make sure to give us a call. Foxtails are definitely dangerous but they are no match for the veterinarians and staff of Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center!