by Bonnie Markoff    It’s Sticker Time! All the rain we have been having is making our hills and fields green – green with stickers! As the grass dries out, we are going to see various foxtails, grass awns and other “stickers” clinging to our pets and wreaking havoc! These stickers can make their way into noses, ears, eyes and lungs. They can also burrow into the skin and cause nasty infections with open draining sores. All of this is painful for your pet and costly for you. Most people think of grass awns or “foxtails” when we talk about stickers.

The plant we hate the most at ACC is the filaree or Stork Bill. This is a low lying plant that is quite pretty when it is green – fern like leaves and lovely purple flowers. The seed pods look a lot like a stork’s bill or maybe a pair of scissors. As this pod dries out, it breaks into multiple small seeds with a curly cue like frond on the end. The tiny little seed will get into the skin, eye or ear while the curly cue frond breaks off. The small piece that is left behind is almost impossible for us to find! Clearing up these infections requires that the little seed be removed and this can be very difficult. So beware and keep your pets away from the drying grasses! If you can clear these plants from your property, you should. If you notice your pet shaking its head, scratching at an ear, sneezing violently, squinting an eye or clicking at a draining wound, know that it could be a sticker and seek veterinary care right away.