We’ve had a cold “spring”in southern WI, so plants may be behind schedule here. The foxtail barley is emerging and it’s easy to spot in the roadside medians right now as the feathery tops are a very pale gold against all the green. Given that for years we were told that we don’t have the “bad” foxtail in Wisconsin, it’s rather frightening to see just how much is growing along the road in our immediate area. Proving once again that it’s good to fact-check, the USDA plant database distribution map shows foxtail barley in all but five very southern of the U.S. lower 48 states plus Alaska http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=HOJU. Given the hazard this stuff poses to our dogs, be sure that you are able to recognize and avoid it. There are more photos in the Gallery, which I hope to organize better in the near future!
Meet Dodger, who lives in Alaska and competes in tracking. Dodger more than likely picked up a foxtail in 2008 that entered through his mouth and migrated up behind his eye. Dodger’s actually very fortunate. Once his abscess was drained and he took a course of antibiotics, he’s had no further ill effects and has gone on to earn more titles, including the VCD1 (Versatile Companion Dog). Wishing you continued good health, Dodger!