Attention dog owners! That danger now lies with the four-legged friends – these are the warning signs that you need to go to the vet

Caution is advised, especially when walking through meadows – there are dangerous plant parts and ticks lurking in the lawn. Imago / Westend 61

While outdoor excursions are often saved during the cold season, many people enjoy long drives in the great outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall. Of course, four-legged friends are also allowed in – I also frequently see dog owners on my outings, whose darlings really enjoy wandering the woods and fields. However, there are also dangers lurking in the grass…and that doesn’t just mean ticks. Animal rights activists are now warning about plant particles that can threaten the lives of animals.

We are talking about the so-called “umbrellas” – sharp and rough parts of plants that are found mainly in cereals and various meadow plants. Animal rights activists from Four Paws advise that you use extreme caution when walking across meadows, across tall grass or across fields.

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The reason: The umbrellas are equipped with tiny thorns, according to a statement from animal rights activists. “These barbs allow them to attach themselves to different parts of the dog’s body. Once the parachutes are in the dog’s coat, they are pulled deeper with each movement.” Then they burrow deeper and deeper into the skin – and infection can easily form in the affected areas.

Parachutes in dogs: you can know these symptoms

But it’s not just the skin that is endangered: parachutes can also get stuck in dogs’ noses, mouths, and ears, then migrate through their digestive or respiratory systems. This can lead to life-threatening damage! “For now, avoid walking your dog through tall grass or cornfields. If necessary, keep the coat trimmed, especially on the paws, and brush the undercoat,” says Sarah Ross, pet expert at Four Paws, after each walk. It is necessary to check the dog for parachutes.

Canopies lie mainly in meadows and fields - they are found on cereal plants, among other things.
Canopies lie mainly in meadows and fields – they are found on cereal plants, among other things. Imago / Wolfgang Maria Weber

It is entirely possible to remove foreign bodies as long as they are only stuck in the fur or have penetrated the skin a little. “Use tweezers to help with this if you need to,” Ross says. “However, if the spur is already deeper in the skin, the vet should treat the dog immediately so the spur can be removed there and the dog can be given anti-inflammatory and pain medication.”

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What are the symptoms that indicate parachutes? Dogs react accordingly – depending on where the disturbing plant particle settles. If there are parachutes in the ear, the animal will scratch itself there or shake its head a lot to get rid of the excess. Ross: “The dog might also tilt its head and let a foul-smelling fluid leak out of its ear.”

Dog parachutes: can be especially dangerous in the nose

If you have plugs in your nose, your nose will run accordingly — or even nosebleeds will occur. Frequent sneezing can also be a warning sign. Particular caution should be taken here: “If the parachutes travel through the dog’s nose and windpipe into the lungs, this results in a sudden and persistent cough or shortness of breath: there is an absolute risk to the dog’s life.” On the paws – this is what the dog notices limping.

But not only canopies lurk in the tall grass – ticks, too. It can be dangerous not only to humans, but also to dogs. According to reports, several dogs in the area around Forst (Spree-Neisse) have already died of Babesiosis (canine malaria), which is transmitted by animals. Babesiosis is accompanied by a high fever and red urine, said Christine Claus, a veterinarian specializing in microbiology and parasitology at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute in Jena.

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But TBE infection can be fatal in dogs. But everyone can protect their four-legged friend: there are very good tick repellents that can be used, for example, as a collar – with which the risks of a bite can be somewhat reduced. But the same applies here: it is better to check the dog for ticks after a trip to nature – and closely monitor its behavior.

Florian Tallmann writes about animals every Wednesday in the newspaper KURIER.
Contact the editorial office: wirvonhier@berlinerverlag.com

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