Porcupine Quills

April 12, 2012

If you live in a specific area where there are porcupines abound your dog may find his or her way into the painful experience of being quilled by one of them. The experience is not pleasant. Despite what many people think porcupines will not go out of their way to quill someone, instead they will defend themselves from what they perceive as a threat, and a dog usually qualifies! Knowing what to do should your dog get quilled will help you respond quickly when your dog needs you most.

Symptoms

When your dog has been quilled by a porcupine you will generally hear them whining or see them licking the infected area. You may also notice the quills still sticking in the skin of the dog, and the skin around them may be puffy, red, and swollen. Most of the time, you will notice the quills because your dog is complaining about them in some fashion or another, because being quilled really is quite painful.

Prevention

Preventing a run in with a porcupine really is difficult. If you live in an area where they are wild they can show up in your yard any time and your dog will be hard pressed not to go after it. You can attempt to train your dog to stay away from them, but this too is difficult as it is in the nature of most dogs to go after small animals such as a porcupine. Staying with your pet when they are outdoors is one way in which you may help prevent your dog running into a porcupine, but even this is not a sure way to ensure that they never suffer the pain of being quilled by a scared porcupine. Also, limiting the amount of time your dog spends outside at night will help, as porcupines are more active during the night time hours.

Treatment

With proper treatment your dog will be able to recover from their run in with a porcupine. The first thing you will need to do is muzzle your dog because they will be in a lot of pain and this is when they are most likely to bite, even if they have never bitten before. Once you have gotten the muzzle on your dog you will want to grasp the quill as close to the skin as is possible and pull it straight out of the skin with force. If the quill breaks, you may have to take your pet to the vet to have it removed.

You’ll need to pull the quills out one at a time. After you are done you will want to wash the wounds with warm water and a small amount of antibacterial soap. Dry the area and then apply some antibacterial ointment to the area. You’ll want to use this on the wounds for several days and watch closely for any signs of infection such as swelling, redness, and hot skin. If any of these symptoms develop be sure to contact your vet straight away.

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