Grassbur (Sand bur) pick-up: easy and fun

Necessity is the mother of invention, but ingenuity is the daddy.  Sometimes little triumphs can give you a lot of pleasure.

BurrThe KVC exercise yard and front lawn have become infested with grass burs (also known as field sandburs).  Patients are picking them up for me, but they don't like it, and neither do I.   Spending twenty minutes picking the burs out of a fuzzy dog is no fun for the dog or anybody else involved.

You can find lots of advice on eradicating the plants, using fertilizers, lawn builders and pre-emergent herbicides.  Okay, fine.  What about the gazillion burs that are already all over my property?  The pre-emergent herbicide is supposed to keep them from germinating next year and multiplying the problem.  Even if I believe that, how am I going to keep my patients from getting covered with the ones that are all over right now?

Some years ago when I had the problem, I sewed an old worn-out blanket into a tube, put a piece of PVC pipe through the middle to weigh it down, and dragged it across the yard.  It worked pretty well then, but it was a bust this time.  I used two blankets, picked up a lot of burs, but you can't tell the difference.

For a moment I had the unworthy thought of borrowing a bunch of fluffy dogs and chasing them around the yard.  Then I thought of buying fluffy slippers for the staff, but they would fill up with burs so fast that you wouldn't get much done.

Fuzzy slipperThen I had the idea of the week: disposable fluffy slippers.  We got some fuzzy fabric remnants and I cut them into shoe-sole size pieces.  Attached front and back with a little duct-tape, and I went for a test run while taking the boarding dogs for their evening walkies out back.  The dogs got a much longer walk than they might have otherwise, because it didn't take long to get excited about my new hobby.

SwifferOh, my gosh, does it work!  You just walk around, or stomp those burs if it makes you feel better (and it does).  When the fuzzy gets full, you just tape on another set.  The burs stick to the cloth so well that you don't spread them to other areas.  It's like a Swiffer for grass burs.

The downside: it's kind of addictive.  I went through about six sets and had to make myself quit.  I finally have a weapon that works, and it is so satisfying.  There are lots of burs left, little islands to conquer, but their days are numbered.


3 thoughts on “Grassbur (Sand bur) pick-up: easy and fun

  1. holly says:

    My friend Veej in Wisconsin referred me to you. You have helped her with her cats. I have had my little chihuahua (female, about 4 or 5 years old, weighs approx. 7 lbs)—she is having seizures. Today she had 2 back to back, first time for that. I live in NM & the seizures have started about 18 months ago & seem to have been limited to the cooler temp. time. My vet said that not to worry about it, but I am. She urinates while seizing, her back legs totally go out, today all 4 went out & during the second seizure she fell over. I am worried. Do you have any information you can give me to help her? I have had her since she was little & weighed 14 oz. & she had bronchitis. She was abandoned by a family. She is a lap dog & very sweet. Thank you. Holly Bawcum, 505-604-6110,

  2. Doc says:

    Hello, Holly,

    I can only give you the general guidelines that I follow, as per what the neurologists have recommended to me. I am certainly not a neurologist, nor an internal medicine specialist. Without actually seeing your pet, I cannot really give you definite advice.

    Seizures are caused by something (often impossible to determine what) having a bad effect on the brain tissue, which is the body’s “electrical switchboard”. Each seizure can cause additional damage. Thus, while some dogs have one seizure and never have another one, the typical course is for the seizures to gradually become more severe, longer lasting, and more frequent.

    Because of this, some neurologists have recommended starting anti-convulsant medicines if a dog has had three seizures, no matter how far apart they are. While this may prevent further damage, it seems a bit much to start twice-a-day, every day, medicine if a dog is having a mild seizure lasting 10 seconds, once every year or two.

    We always start by checking a blood chemistry panel to be sure that there are no obvious problems with liver, kidney, blood sugar, or electrolytes. If this is normal, I ask the owner to keep a log, noting every seizure’s date, form, length, time to full recovery, and the circumstances that preceded the seizure.

    If seizures are coming frequently (every couple of months), if they are severe, if they are long-lasting (minutes), if they won’t stop without medical treatment, or if we have cluster seizures, we start anti-convulsant medicines.

    A cluster seizure means that you are having multiple seizures in a day, or seizures daily for a few days. This is always an indication to start medication, in my opinion.

    Does two seizures in a day constitute a cluster? I can’t answer that for you, but I would ask your veterinarian to re-examine your dog and re-evaluate her case in light of this new information.

    If he/she is uncertain as to the best course, or if you are not satisfied with their explanation, you could ask for a referral to a specialist.

    It sounds like these are new developments. If your veterinarian is not aware of all the data, it is hard to make a good recommendation. Do get in touch with your veterinarian again.

    Good luck.

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