Letter: Beware of spear grass when exercising your dog

Dog walkers, please take note of this vicious plant that lurks amongst the other flora.

To the editor:

Living in Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna, is a wonderful thing.Walking a dog in the neighbourhood is an enjoyable experience…but dog walkers, beware. Hidden within the grasses, weeds and other flora is a vicious plant that goes by the name of spear grass.

According to a web dictionary spear grass “are grasses with hard pointed seed heads, like wheat, some of which are sharp enough to do harm to livestock…”.

West Kelowna’s Dr. Oz of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital is very aware of the harm that spear grass can do to pets, especially dogs and has posted a web page titled, spear grass- Rose Valley Vet., about his experience with spear grass and the harm, sometimes fatal, that it can cause.

Spear grass attaches to the inside of dogs ears, working its way inside the ear, and also gets wedged between the dogs toes, working its way into the skin. Floppy eared dogs are more susceptible to the spear grass going into the ear canal unnoticed.

Had I known about spear grass, and the harm that it can do, I would have thoroughly checked over my lab pup when home from a walk. Because I didn’t know about spear grass my pup got three spear heads lodged in his ear canal which made holes in his ear drum.

I took my pup to Dr. Oz after noticing about two days of excessive head shaking and some odd welts suddenly appeared on his neck below his ear (the welts were caused by the infection brewing in my pups’ ear). Immediate surgery was necessary to dislodge the spear heads and now my pup might be deaf in that ear and can not go into water until at least the fall, if ever.

Knowing what I know now, after I take my pup for a walk I do notice the spear grass and stay clear of it. I also check my pups paws and ears and underside once home.

Dog walkers, please take note of this vicious plant that lurks amongst the other flora in your area and check you dogs once home. It is not the exorbitant cost to get my pup feeling better and on the mend that is bothersome, rather it is the fact that I did not know about Spear Grass and the dreadful harm that it can do.

Terrie Anderson, West Kelowna