Bruno, a lively young Maltese cross boy, came to see us last month when his Aunty saw him licking one of his paws excessively. It started immediately after his walk in the morning. Our veterinarian Cathy examined Bruno and found an entry point with a small lump-like pocket of pus surrounding it.
Bruno did not like his paw being examined at all so he received a short anaesthetic, and after some time "fishing" and exploring around the wound and the pocket of pus, Dr Cathy removed the culprit - a small grass seed! Once a grass seed (no matter how big or small they are) gets under the skin, the body tries to eliminate it and pus is formed that usually swells into an abscess, which looks like a lump. Grass seeds can travel a long way into the body, causing on-going infection if left untreated and sometimes the entry hole can heal over leaving no clue to the source of the problem.
Make sure you check your dog thoroughly after each walk and remove any seeds in the coat. Common areas to check for seeds are ears, between toes, armpits and eyes. It is best to have long-coated dogs trimmed, especially at the feet and belly, to reduce the chance of grass seed penetrating into the skin. If you notice any signs of lesions, infection, swelling or lump on the paws or body of your dog, seek medical advice as soon as possible.