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Tierärztin Dr. Susanne Schüller

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Tierärztin Dr. Susanne Schüller

In summer, the awns of mouse barley, which grows on the edges of meadows, along footpaths and in parks, cause trouble for dogs and cats. When touched, parts of the grasses break off easily and attach themselves to the coat. Fine barbs prevent a shaking off and steer the awns deeper into the fur.

With their pointed, hard ends, they drill their way into the skin between the toes or paws, penetrate into body orifices and ears, sometimes when sniffing into the nose and cause painful foreign body abscesses.

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Prevention and removal from awns

The colloquial “Schliafhansl” can then usually only be surgically removed under anaesthesia. It is therefore best to shear the fur on the paws briefly and check the skin between the toes and the ears daily so that awns can be removed immediately.

Dog and cat owners should therefore be particularly attentive at this time of year when their pet suddenly licks or limps its paw, pinches an eye, shakes its head violently or holds it crooked, sneezes or bleeds from its nose all the time.

If you suspect a foreign thing on your pet, please see a veterinarian as soon as possible to save your animal from pain and prevent worse!


Mouse barley grow on roadsides and fields. Especially when they get dry and brown, they break off easily and drill under the skin of our darlings. Therefore search your animal after every walk and make sure that it behaves conspicuously. If your animal has caught a awn that you can’t remove yourself, you should go to a vet as soon as possible, otherwise it will drill deeper and deeper.