British Columbia

Dog owner says pooches and their humans need to watch out for foxtails

“I knew it was foxtail … I just knew it was going to be a big vet bill or my dog was going to die," said Janelle Rutledge after her dog ate a common grass found throughout B.C.

Janelle Rutledge’s dog ate foxtail, a common grass found throughout B.C., leading to $500 vet bill

A field of foxtail near Vernon. Foxtail is an invasive plant found throughout B.C. and is harmful to dogs when eaten. (Angela Knopp/E-Flora BC Photo Gallery)

A dog owner had an expensive scare over the past few days after a walk in Dawson Creek.

Janelle Rutledge's dog, Boomer, ate foxtail — wispy, brushlike meadow grass common in several regions of B.C. — while out on Saturday.

Foxtail, when eaten, can migrate into a dog's brain, perforate a lung, or in Boomer's case, possibly embed into his throat.

"My heart sunk in my chest," Rutledge told Radio West host Audrey McKinnon about when she caught Boomer eating it. "I knew it was foxtail … I just knew it was going to be a big vet bill or my dog was going to die."

Janelle Rutledge’s dog, Boomer, ate foxtail, leaving her with an expensive vet bill. (Janelle Rutledge)

Boomer's foxtail "snack" while on his walk cost Rutledge $500 in vet bills, and she wants other dog walkers in B.C.'s great outdoors to use caution around the plants.

There are several species of it in the province, according to InvasivesBC. The province considers them weeds, and within the Peace Region, green foxtail is a particular concern.

"It's everywhere, especially if you go out to fields," she said. "Watch for foxtails, 'cause you could be having a big vet bill or [lose] your dog."

Boomer is back to riding shotgun in Rutledge's truck now, she says, but she knows the situation could have ended with heartbreak.

With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Dog owner says pooches and their humans need to watch out for foxtails

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