Grass Seed Season, A Coughing Dog, An Endoscope, And a Miracle

Sirius survived strychnne poisoning in July 2013.

On a lovely spring day, Sirius had a trip to Wagin and decided to go for a frolic in the wheat fields.

When she came out from her run, she was coughing and gagging. Sirius didn’t eat her breakfast the very next day and her mum became very worried.

Dr Elyece thought she should have a general anaesthetic to expore her pharynx and look to see if a grass seed was lodged in her throat. There was nothing visible. Dr Elyece took some radiographs of her chest and pharynx. There was nothing obviously wrong but there was just something about her symptoms, her breathing, her harsh lung sounds and her sudden loss of appetite……that started suddenly after a run in the wheat fields of Wagin.

Dr Kylie thought we should do a bronchoscope to see whether anything had gone down the airways…………and there it was. Lodged in a secondary bronchus deep in her lungs was a seed head.

spotted - tip of seed protruding from bronchus of lung

spotted – tip of seed protruding from bronchus of lung

4 vets spent two hours trying to get this seed head out of her lungs. Dr Kylie was driving the endoscope, Dr Torben was using the endoscopic forceps to grab the seed. We cheered every time Dr Torben was able to get hold of the seed. We oohed and we aahhed everytime a fragment of the seed head broke away.

Team Australind Saving Sirius

Team Australind Saving Sirius

After two hours of pulling the seed head out fragment by fragment with the see sawing of emotions, we were starting to become a little worried aboutwhether we were going to get this seed out. It was jammed in that airway and it was a whopper.

This thing is massive...and stuck!!

This thing is massive…and stuck!!

Just when our spirits were starting to fall, Dr Torben got hold of the seed in just the right place and patiently pulled the seed free and out of the airway.

A marvel this went in...a miracle this is out

A marvel this went in…a miracle this is out

Grass seed season has arrived. The seeds standing tall on the grass heads will stick in your pets fur and penetrate into the skin causing abscesses. The seeds can penetrate into the chest cavity causing pleuritis and pyothorax and into the abdominal cavity causing peritonitis. Both of these conditions are often fatal.

The seeds commonly end up in ears, up noses or stuck in throats. In rare cases like Sirius, they can go down the airway and penetrate the pulmonary tissue causing pneumonia, punctured lungs and pneumothorax and terrible infection in the chest cavity called pyothorax.

Grass seed episodes can be prevented by grooming your pets short. Seeds don’t stick as well to very short hair. Avoid walking your pets where there is long grass. Prevention is better than cure. Check in between your pet’s toes after you come home from a walk. Grass seeds commonly get stuck between toes, penetrate the skin and start migrating up the leg.



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