Clinical and clinicopathological characteristics, treatment, and outcome for dogs and cats with confirmed foxtail foreign body lesions: 791 cases (2009–2018)

summary of:
Clinical and clinicopathological characteristics, treatment, and outcome for dogs and cats with confirmed foxtail foreign body lesions: 791 cases (2009–2018)
Author(s):
H.S. Philp, S.E. Epstein and K. Hopper
Published in:
Date:
May 2022
DOI:
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In our edition of: Aug 2022
In our categories of: small animals

our summary:

Philp, H.S., Epstein, S.E. and Hopper, K. (2022) Clinical and clinicopathological characteristics, treatment, and outcome for dogs and cats with confirmed foxtail foreign body lesions: 791 cases (2009–2018). Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

The aim of this retrospective study was to report on the clinical and clinicopathological characteristics, treatment, and outcome for dogs and cats with a confirmed foxtail. Records from a US teaching hospital from 2009-2018 were reviewed for confirmed cases of foxtail foreign body lesions.

Seven hundred and ninety-one cases were identified: 754 dogs and 37 cats. The most common dog breeds were mixed breeds (33.6%), Labrador Retrievers (8.6%) and Golden Retrievers (4.2%). Domestic Short Hair was the most common cat breed (67.6%).

Presentation of foxtail foreign body was most frequent between May and July. In dogs, foxtails were most commonly located in the aural canal (28.3%), cutaneous and subcutaneous locations (26.4%) (47.3% of these were interdigital), and 17% in the nasal canal. In cats, the eye was the most affected site (81.0%).

86.1% of cases presented with foxtail-related clinical signs, which were commonly related to the foxtail location. 11.9% of foxtails were found incidentally.

A range of imaging modalities were found to be useful in confirming diagnosis and in guiding retrieval of the foxtail. The use of ultrasound identified 83/114 cases and radiograph abnormalities were seen in 36/52 cases. Computed tomography (CT) was performed in 78 dogs with suspected intracavitary foxtail migration, and in all cases, structural changes related to the presence of the foxtail were found.

Six hundred and ten cases were treated as outpatients whilst 181 were hospitalised.

Limitations of the study were the retrospective nature, the exclusion of potential foxtail cases due to lack of definitive clinical findings, and the lack of follow-up information for a large number of cases which affected the data on long-term outcomes.

Take Home

Although this is a US-based study, the findings are likely to be generalisable to the UK as foxtails are a common primary care clinical complaint, particularly during the summer months. The study shows the utility of ultrasound in identifying and removing foxtails from superficial locations

The following may also be of interest:

Brant, B.J. et al. (2022) Seasonality and risk factors for grass seed foreign bodies in dogs. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 197, p. 105499. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2021.105499

Grass seed foreign bodies in pets [SAVSNet] [online] Available from: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/savsnet.at.liverpool/viz/Grassseedsinpets/Dashboard1. [Accessed 18 August 2022]

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