Foxtails are parts of a plant used to disperse seeds for reproduction. Foxtail isn’t really a name of a plant, but it is a part of a plant. In spring, it looks like a green barbed stalk with spikes, but in Summer, where it becomes dangerous, it turns into a dry brown version that has a main purpose of “attaching” to your clothes and to your pet.
These plant parts are a classic annoyance to dogs, owners and even to veterinarians in California as they are not your typical spikes that get lodged onto the skin. The problem with foxtails is that they travel can through the soft tissues and can lodged onto the internal organs of a dog. Quite difficult to imagine, right? But yes – foxtail can burrow onto a dog’s paw, underbelly, leg, nose and ears, then creep its way in. It will first lead to a pimple looking structure on the skin – sometimes it will pop and cause bleeding and discharge, then the skin closes up as a normal part of a wound healing process. Then a few days or a week later, there seems to be another pimple or abscess on the same leg but a little farther away from the first abscess. This is a classic story of a foxtail.