Burr tongue

A small animal vet is alerting colleagues to be aware of a distressing condition commonly known as “burr tongue” after her own dog was affected.

Burr tongue is the common name for burdock tongue (also called granular stomatitis or granulomatous glossitis) caused by ingestion of burrs from the burdock plant (Arctium lappa;), a form of thistle. The hooked scales of the burrs become embedded in the tongue and gums and can cause an intense foreign body reaction.

It is the minute pappus bristles that cause irritation rather than the large Velcro-like hooks. The pale yellow, almost translucent pappus bristles are difficult to spot without bright light and magnification.