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Foxtails blamed in the death of K-9 officer

CACHE COUNTY — The death of a well-loved and young K9 officer in the Cache County Sheriff’s department is drawing attention to the dangers of foxtails to pets.

The weed has spikes which makes them nearly impossible to remove once they’ve attached themselves to fur or skin of your pet.  And if an animal ingests a foxtail, or accidentally inhales one, it will burrow itself into the mouth, throat, or lungs of the pet.

That’s what happened to Cache County K-9 officer, Storm.  He was giving a public demonstration on Tuesday evening.  The next morning, Storm’s handler noticed behavioral changes in the dog.  He was taken immediately to a veterinarian where fluid was found surrounding his lungs and heart.

Cache County Sheriff D. Chad Jensen says the 2-year old Belgian Malinois was prepped for surgery to remove the foxtails and the infection caused by the weeds. Jensen says the vet was optimistic the K-9 would be able to return to duty soon, as the infection was caught early.  But Storm passed away during the surgery, less than 24-hours after ingesting the foxtails.

Sheriff Jensen wants to use the incident to inform the public of the hazards of foxtails.  The weed can attach itself to skin, inside ears and nostrils, and inside the mouth and gums of animals.  Jensen is asking the pet owners to check your pet everytime they come in from being outside.  If you find a foxtail and can’t remove it, take your pet to the vet immediately.