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You won’t believe what caused this dog’s mysterious swollen paw!

Springer spaniel Jerry looks forlorn in a kennel as he recovers from surgery

A dog who suffered from a mystery swelling in between his toes is back on his paws after surgery.

Springer spaniel Jerry had been licking away at his toe so much that it had become inflamed.

His worried owner booked him a visit to our Hammersmith animal hospital in London, where our vets gave him an examination.

We needed to investigate further and gave Jerry an anaesthetic so we could remove the cause of the problem.

Jerry's toe was shaved to we could extract the seed from his toe
We shaved Jerry's toe so we could remove the seed from his paw

Inside Jerry’s toe, just under the skin, we found the culprit of his discomfort – a grass seed.

Summer pain

Nadine Lock, Chief Veterinary Surgeon at Blue Cross Hammersmith, said: “Grass seeds are a common problem at this time of year. In fact, I removed one from each ear of another dog in the same afternoon that Jerry had his surgery.”

The seed we extracted from Jerry’s toe was about a centimetre long.

These tiny seeds have pointy ends so they easily become trapped in a dog’s fur, and can burrow down through thin tissues into the skin.

They cause much more of a problem in breeds with feathery toes that enjoy bounding through long grass, such as springer spaniels.

A grass seed next to a ruler showing the seed is just over a centimeter long

Nadine added: “Typically, with a grass seed in the feet, owners will notice a painful swelling between the toes. Unfortunately, in rare cases the grass seed can track up under the skin and they have been known to end up in the chest area.

“It is a good idea for owners to check those areas that have long hair, in particular the feet and ears, after exercise.”

Look out for seeds

Dogs who have got seeds stuck inside their paws are likely to lick at them constantly and vigorously. Your dog may shake their head a lot if they have got one or more seeds imbedded in their ears.

Although grass seeds are tiny, they can cause a dog real pain so it’s always best to check your dog after walks, particularly if they have been enjoying meadows or woodlands in the spring and summer months.

If you think your dog had been affected by grass seeds, contact your vet.

— Page last updated 1/08/2016