(BB + Pi) : It is a respiratory disease that mainly affects young dogs in collective breeding or in pet stores. Vaccination is particularly recommended for animals living in communities. The disease is caused by the association of several viruses and bacteria. Available vaccines protect against Parainfluenza virus (Pi) and a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica (BB).
What is a spikelet?
Spikelets constitute the inflorescence of the large plant family of grasses. They are made up of glumes. These are weeds (wild oats, wild oats …) that are found everywhere.
The spikelet is the plant seed which, at a certain level of desiccation (dryness), detaches from the stem (it is the ginning) and is disseminated by the wind or the coat of the animals.
The spikelet is therefore dangerous when the desiccation of the grasses is significant, from June to September.
In veterinary medicine, there is a tendency to group any plant foreign body under the term spikelet.
How can it affect the dog?
When the spikelet is detached from its plant, it can fall on a dog’s coat and then risks progressing either through natural orifices (nostrils, ear canals, etc.) or through folds of skin. The spikelet then becomes a foreign body for the dog.
The spikelet peduncle is particularly traumatic and can puncture external tissues or mucous membranes. It is a very invasive foreign body.
What are the symptoms ?
The damage caused by the spikelet in dogs depends on its location and its stage of progression.
Three major locations are listed: the ear canal, the interdigitated spaces (between the fingers) and the eyes. But all other locations are possible: anal glands, nasal cavities, vulva, trachea …
Spikelets can be responsible for mild to severe disorders. Sometimes it is just a nuisance for the dog but it can also cause a significant local inflammatory reaction, even secondary lesions.
The ear canal is the most common location of the spikelet in dogs. It causes typical reactions: the animal shakes its head, moans if touched on the ear because the pain is severe. Then appear signs of otitis: purulent discharge, tilted head … Without intervention, the spikelet can continue to progress in the ear canal and perforate the eardrum.
When the spikelet is positioned between the fingers, it causes untimely licking of the tip of the leg and can then generate an abscess. After a few days, the dog will show lameness.
In the event of ocular localization, the animal will present signs of pain and discomfort (discharge, intense blinking of the eyelids …). Untreated, the spikelet can cause a corneal ulcer.
How to solve this problem ?
The management of a spikelet requires the intervention of a veterinarian.
When the spikelet has entered the ear canal, the treatment will consist of removing it using an otoscope and forceps. The veterinarian will then look for other spikelets, assess the damage to the ear canal and treat the reaction otitis.
Interdigitated spikelets may require a little surgery to manage the fistulas they have generated.
Likewise, spikelets located at eye level may require general anesthesia for their removal.
How to prevent spikelet « attacks »?
Several risk factors are known for this problem, in particular the breed of the dog and more particularly the nature of the coat and the wearing of the ears. Cocker spaniel, English springer, setters, bobtail, briard … are thus predisposed.
The way of life also plays a role with an influence of the activities of the animal (hunting) and its urban or rural housing.
Prevention involves careful monitoring of dogs when returning from walks in the summer season and prompt conduct at the veterinarian in the event of signs suggestive of a spikelet.
To know more :
Luc HERBLOT – Veterinarian
Alpine veterinary clinic
97 avenue des Baumes 26000 Valence
04 75 41 00 52