Corn Fields are Dangerous for Dogs

Barley, rye, and other grain fields can be dangerous for dogs. There is talk of bad inflammation. How menacing grain awns really are.

Summer is just around the corner, and with it walks through cornfields gently swaying in the wind. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it? However, if the dog starts limping after the foray, eagerly licking its paws or constantly shaking its head, the good mood is over. The awns of the cornfields are dangerous. The pointed, up to 2.5 centimeters long extensions on the ears of corn can pierce like arrowheads in dogs and cats and continue to migrate into their bodies.

Whether hairy, curved, or twisted, the awns sit on the back or at the end of the husks of many blades of grass and cereals occurring at different times of the year and enclose their seeds. The dog either roams directly through the cornfield or picks up awns lying around on the path. The drier the vegetation, the more likely the awns break off and attach themselves to the animal. It is simply impossible to shake off, since the awns are equipped with fine barbs, through which they get deeper and deeper into the fur and finally into the organism, especially through movement.

Thomas Schneiter from the Sonnenhof veterinary clinic in Derendingen SO has experience with it and says that it mainly affects the paws, sometimes the ears, and rarely the eyes and nose. The first thing you see is swelling, then discharge. “It comes and goes,” says the veterinarian, meaning that the position is sometimes open and sometimes closed. In the end, however, it had to be cut open to remove the awn.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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