Pet owners warned about the dangers of foxtails | KOB 4

Pet owners warned about the dangers of foxtails

Joy Wang
May 14, 2019 10:18 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Foxtail can be found almost anywhere – at parks, along sidewalks, in a neighbor’s yard.


They may look harmless, but these plants can be deadly.

Usually it just gets caught in an animal's paws, but all it takes is one little piece to cause serious damage.

Patty Keane says her dog Leo was killed by foxtail when the plant entered his system. She first noticed symptoms two weeks before he died.

“He couldn't walk in a straight line,” said Patty Keane. “He could only walk in these right-hand turns in order to actually get anywhere.”

Back then, she didn’t know what was causing the problem.

“They basically said there's something wrong with his brain. We don't know what's wrong with him. There's nothing really we can do and we think you should go to the neurologist in Algodones,” explained Keane.

An MRI would cost $3,000 dollars.

 “I didn't have 3,000 dollars to spend on an MRI on my dog. It was a very difficult decision,” said Keane. “But I couldn't do it.”

After Leo died, Keane spent 300 dollars on a necropsy.

 “I did need answers,” said Keane. “It was foxtail that went into his eye.” 

The problem with foxtail is that it's sticky, and at the end of it there's a needle. Once the needle gets in your system, it moves relentlessly forward until it finds its resting place.

For Leo, that was his brain.

“If I had had the MRI done, they would've identified what it was, and I would’ve had to euthanize him,” said Keane. “So the outcome would've been the same. So Leo would've died regardless.”

Her hope is to spread awareness and protect other owners and their pets.


Joy Wang

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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