Cutaneous (in the skin), or subcutaneous (under the skin) foreign bodies are things that can poke through the skin and include;

  • Grass seeds
  • Splinters
  • Thorns
  • Pieces of glass
  • A bee stinger.

Most commonly skin foreign bodies occur in the foot as a pet may step on it. But they have also been found in other areas such as, the chest, under the arm pits, or in the groin.

SYMPTOMS include

  • Excessive licking of the area
  • Redness or a swelling noted in the area
  • A small wound or lump that develops in the area
  • A small wound that has a constant discharge
  • Often foreign bodies in the foot can also lead to limping, or holding the foot off the ground.
The Image above shows a grass seed that had penetrated the skin, and turned into a thick walled off abscess. In this case the entire abscess was removed because it was causing a lot of discomfort.
Generally a minor surgical procedure is necessary for a suspected skin foreign body. The swelling or discharging wound may need to be explored to looking for a a foreign body. In some cases it can be easy to find the foreign body, but i others, particularly if they were not treated straight away it can be more challenging.
For skin foreign bodies that are left too long an abscess will develop, and sometimes the surrounding area can become unhealthy. For these cases more involved surgical exploration and debridement may be needed including removal of the entire area in some cases.
The inflammation and infection will also need to be treated.


Try to avoid walking in areas with seeding grasses
If visiting areas with lots grass seeds around, check your dogs feet, coat and ears after walks, especially in long haired breeds