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Posted By: Izzy - Pets Vet

A grass seed causes problems for Bonnie

It is grass seed season currently and these barbed rice-like shaped structures can be pretty pesky causing problems all over the place with our hairy 4 legged friends!

Bonnie is a lovely and very well behaved Collie who came in for her annual booster and health check in July.  Her owner’s mentioned she had a sore and squinty eye since playing on a sandy beach the day before she came to the vets so sand irritation was a potential cause of this discomfort.

On examination, her right eye was held closed and there was some sticky yellow discharge present.  The conjunctival tissues around the eye were inflamed too and it looked really uncomfortable.

Local anaesthetic drops were placed in the eye for comfort before exploring the eye structures with a sterile cotton bud.  It didn’t take long to find the cause – a grass seed was burrowed and firmly attached to the conjunctival tissue around the eye causing inflammation.  The arrowhead-like shape of grass seeds mean they can burrow far into tissues and anchor, causing inflammation and secondary infection.  Once identified this was removed with forceps. She was so good we could do this conscious! It was a relief when the grass seed was quickly removed from its anchor point.

Whenever we are concerned about an eye we always add some dye drops to the eye to determine if there is any damage to the cornea – the outer most surface of the eye, aside from the tear film.  The dye is taken up into top layer of the eye if there is a breach in its smooth surface.  The dye can also indicate severity.

Bonnie had an area of dye uptake on the surface of the cornea, likely due to damage from the grass seed.  Luckily for Bonnie this damage was very superficial and healed over a couple of days with eye drops that Bonnie’s owner applied multiple times a day.  Damage to the cornea can be a challenge to resolve and can be quite intensive for owners to manage with drops and care at home.  Luckily Bonnie is the perfect patient!

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