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What to do if your dog attacked a porcupine?

 
Your dog met face to face with a porcupine and decided to make a new playmate or saw it as a fun prey to hunt. As a result, Fido is now covered with quills. What to do? The first rule is: Don’t panic!
 
Here are a few recommendations from the veterinarians at Passionimo should your furry companion get into this prickly situation:
 

1) Avoid movements.

Porcupine quills can puncture your pet’s skin where they can migrate in further. Because they are likely to carry bacteria, quills can cause infections and abscesses as soon as they penetrate the skin.
 
Additionally, since dogs attack with their mouths, your pet’s maw will probably shoulder the brunt of the quilling, making eating or even closing the jaw difficult. Your poor dog will be in pain!
 

2) Call your veterinarian and bring your dog to the clinic as soon as possible.

After 24 hours, porcupine quills soften, making extraction a longer and more laborious process. More often than not, quills are removed under anesthesia or heavy sedation, and the dog can return home on the same day, provided that the quilling is not too severe.
 

3) Above all, do not cut the quills!

This will only make extraction more difficult. Cut quills are harder to detect for the veterinary team. There is also a risk that they will sink even deeper under the skin, which may require a longer and more complex surgery.
 

4) Don’t attempt to remove the quills at home.

Pulling quills is painful, so your pet will likely struggle, which could make quills break and leave fragments under the skin. This could lead to future complications including quills migration and abscess formation.
 

5) Stop your dog from rubbing their face while you wait to see the veterinarian.

If you own an Elizabethan collar, use it.
 

6) Do not feed your pet until the quills are removed.

Fasting will reduce risks should anesthesia be necessary.
 

What does the procedure involve?

At the veterinary clinic, quills will be removed under sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the estimated surgery time. The duration will vary and is directly proportional to the quantity of quills on your pet.
 
Your veterinarian might prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatories to be administered at home.
 

Quick facts about porcupines1

• There are 29 species of porcupines, and up to 30,000 quills cover the average porcupine.
• While they are more active at night, they can also be seen during the day, foraging for food.
• They have poor eyesight but a great sense of smell.
• They are herbivores.
• Fond of salt, they may gnaw on bones or approach areas inhabited by humans for this mineral.
• They are not aggressive but will defend themselves, their offspring, and den if necessary.
 
1 THE SPRUCE PETS. Quick Facts About Porcupines, Quills, and Pets, 2018. [thesprucepets.com].
 

Do you have more questions?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Passionimo veterinary clinic nearest to you.