Reminder - Canada Wild Rye

A5 Sweet 16

Member
For those that aren't aware, these bastards are both Canada Wild Rye, which killed my last 2 springers. If you end up in it, be SURE to give your hunting buddy a tailgate exam. Skin, eyes, nose, ears, toes....all over.
See this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaFl0Z8kH_c
It doesn't discriminate. And if it works its way into the chest cavity, let me know. I'll say a few prayers for your dog & hope for a miracle.
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marn

New member
I have hunted eastern SD for 35 years and never paid attention to these potential killers. Now that I have read up on the dangers to our dogs, I will keep my eyes open and be selective on where the dog goes. Brent how often do you encounter Canada Wild Rye when hunting?

Mike
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Brent how often do you encounter Canada Wild Rye when hunting?
Mike, I'll let you know after we get into the season a bit. So far this season, though, I'm 1 for 1. I really never paid attention to it either until Buzz died in December (confirmed pyothorax). Walt died in 2013 (age 11), but nobody knew why. I just chalked it up to his ticker gave out because he'd lived a hard life. But his symptoms & death were almost identical to Buzz's, so I'm sure they both died of pyothorax. Also, the place I took Leah Sunday.....where I picked the grass for the picture above....I do know that I hunted there in 2012, the season before Walt died. I remember it well, because it had just been plowed up & replanted a couple years previous & I thought it would be some nice lighter cover to hit on residents-only weekend in mid/late afternoon. So at that time, assuming they used Canada wild rye in the seed mix as a cover plant, it was probably VERY prevalent then. This past Sunday it wasn't like it was the main grass in the area, but I'd still say it was all over the place once you got back in there a ways. It doesn't die off, yielding to other plants, as quickly as some people think it does.

For what it's worth, though, I was right back in 2012. It was perfect cover for early season. And as luck would have it, the adjacent corn had been picked just prior to resident's weekend. That was a really dry summer/fall. Shot 3 easily on Saturday & then on Sunday, 1 there & 2 at a spot right down the road. Chances are, since I was successful there early, I probably went back another time or 2 that season.

I'll admit to being super gun-shy about the stuff after losing 2 dogs to it. I'll never look at a weed the same again. But I'm just trying to make sure people are aware of it - not make them lunatics about it. Unfortunately, I'm close to the latter.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Mike...the PM feature on this site won't let me upload a pic from computer, so I'll put it here. The WPA where I picked the CWR Sunday is just a few miles north of Colman. You've probably hunted it. I won't go back. Circled below.
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dakotasj

Member
This is great information and a timely reminder.
Thanks for posting.
Canada Wild Rye is not the only grass that is dangerous, foxtail barley and cheatgrass are also a problem. Probably others too.
Symptoms overlap with many other illnesses like tick borne and can come on fairly suddenly and can be acute - elevated temp, lethargic, no interest in food.
Vets that deal with city dogs and cats may not see many cases of grass awn infection so its wise to ask.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Symptoms overlap with many other illnesses like tick borne and can come on fairly suddenly and can be acute - elevated temp, lethargic, no interest in food.
Yes, just so people know what happened in Buzz's case....

February 2018, developed a lump low on his side behind the ribs (common w/ mean seeds). Scheduled surgery.
A day or 2 before surgery, the lump/abscess burst. Surgery still took place. They removed all they could & sent it to Ames for inspection. No foreign matter found.
Vet said maybe the foreign material washed out. Maybe not.
Buzz recovers from surgery & is fine.

Fast forward to about November 20, 2018, just before Thanksgiving. Buzz seems "just not quite himself" one day. Had a slight fever. Gave him an aspirin.
Next day the fever's gone & he seems fine. Maybe not 100%, but about 99.

Hunted the weekend following Thanksgiving. He still seemed about 99%. It was almost imperceptible, but he just wasn't quite 100%. That following week, he got back to 100%.
Hunted Dec. 1 & he seemed fine. 100%.
Hunted Dec. 2 (Sunday) & he got tired real quick & acted like something was wrong. I decided I'd take the morning off Monday & take him in. That evening he just acted tired.
Called vet early Monday Dec. 3 & made an appointment for 10:00 that morning. Buzz seemed sleepy.
Took the daughter to school at 7:30 & when I got home, Buzz was lying on the floor. Had almost no strength whatsoever. Breathing very short & rapid.
I put him in the truck & took off. Called the vet & told them to expect us & that it was an emergency.
Took 10 minutes to get to the vet. 10 minutes after we got to the vet, Buzz was dead.

So yes, pyothorax (the worst result of mean seeds, but not the only result) can be difficult to see & acts quickly.
Whether the abscess in February was responsible for his death in December, we don't know for sure, but it could've been.
The vet said in February that the seed/material could've migrated elsewhere before the abscess burst.
But when he died, the vet said the seed that killed him was most likely inhaled & moved through his lung into the chest cavity.

In the pic below, the bottom dog is healthy. Black chest cavity because the lungs are full of air, with the big white blob in the lower part being the heart.
The upper dog is Buzz. Can't even see his heart & the whole chest cavity turned out white because the lungs couldn't get air. The whole cavity was filled w/ puss. Acute respiratory distress set in & killed him. Quickly.
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UplandHntr

Active member
Man thats a hard read. I never want to go thru that with any of my pups or see any others go thru it either.
 

marn

New member
Those X-ray images are eye opening to see the difference in how that infection affected your dog Buzz versus the normal chest X-ray. Thanks for sharing your story, all the reminders to complete tailgate checks and to make sure we all pay attention to our dogs and take action if they don't seem right.
 

quail hound

Moderator
Lady had a nocardia infection and pneumothorax from a suspected grass awn while she was in Montana on my friends guide string. Her symptoms were very fast onset, one day a client shot a limit of sharps over her and two days later she almost died. Dr. Mcinteer is consulting on her case and 2 months later her chest rads look normal but we've still got a couple months of recovery ahead. Very scary stuff.
 
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Just got back from Sodak.
Started off in a beautiful field... Had everything shelterbelt, bounded by corn but loaded with CWR. Stopped 5 minutes in and said we're done here. Did the tailcheck check out and moved on.
IM me if you want to know exact location.
 

remy3424

Member
In 2016 we put in 142 of CRP (CP-38) and have 119 acres of nesting cover of which has a good amount of Canadian and Virginia rye in that mix. There is plenty of the "bearded" type of grass that I am assuming is the ryes in question. I and my GSP have hunted this A LOT over the past 2 years with the grass being mature and headed. Now I am getting some concerns. My dog did get quite sick at the end of last season, vet gave us a stong antibotic and he seemed to recover fully. He is 11.5 now and is slowing down...getting to wonder if that episode could have been related to a seed now. We have 18 acres of switch grass that I could try to stay in, I really wish I knew about these grass issues when we ordered the seed! Thanks for the post A5.
 

remy3424

Member
I am surprised PF doesn't warn about these grasses when putting acres into CRP...and the USDA might add warnings. Most of the CRP projects will get plenty of hunting (dog) activity in them.
 
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