Porcupine Quills In Dogs - How To Protect Your Dog?
Porcupines are large rodents that mostly live in North America. These animals are not designed to attack but will gladly defend themselves if they feel attacked. They have more than the 30 000 quills they can use to fight off the potential attack.
If you find yourself in the areas where porcupines live, you must be very careful, especially if you own a curious dog. Your dog could easily come closer to the porcupine and end up with quills in his body.
Porcupines will mostly eat and be active at night, and they are not aggressive, but if they suspect they are in danger, they will defend themself. Protecting your dog from the porcupine quills is essential since these quills can do much damage to your dog quickly.
What are porcupine quills?
Porcupines are often seen in movies and cartoons, and people need clarification on how their quills work. Most of the time on the screen, they will see the porcupine shooting their quills, but this isn't true.
Their quills are actually their hair, and because they are covered with the protein keratin, their hair is sharp and hard. At the quill end, a thorn will easily penetrate the predator's skin and cause a lot of pain and damage. Because of that thorn, the quills can easily move further into the skin, making it very hard to get it out.
Why are porcupine quills so dangerous for dogs?
Once the porcupine quills puncture the skin, getting them out can be pretty hard since they do have thorns on end. The quill will naturally move more inside the body, causing more health problems.
Even if you don't touch the quills after the attack, they will naturally move further into the body, and because of that, your dog must receive proper medical help as soon as possible.
There are two biggest threats with the porcupine quills:
- They are dirty – after they end up in the dog's skin, they could easily cause an infection; since they can be full of bacteria, they can cause additional problems for your dog
- They can damage organs – once they enter the dog's body, they will move forward and can cause rupture to a certain dog's organs
What to do after the porcupine attack?
Accidents do happen, and if there was a porcupine attack on your dog, you shouldn't panic. No matter how many quills are in the dog's body, you can still help him.
These are the steps you should do right after the attack occurs
- Move the dog from the porcupine
- Don't touch any of the quills, and carefully manage your dog
- Don't allow your dog to touch or scratch any of the quills since it will create only more problems
- Contact your vet and rush to the clinic
You must follow these steps to protect your dog and not cause him any more pain. You must understand that these quills in the dog's body are extremely uncomfortable and are causing much pain for the dog, so it is best to rush to the clinic.
Should I remove the quills on my own?
You should never try to remove quills from the dog's body, especially if you are not a veterinarian and don’t know how to do it properly.
With the porcupine quills in his body, the dog will be in much pain, and he should receive anesthesia before trying to get the quills out. The best thing you can do for your dog now is to rush to the nearest vet clinic.
How will vets treat porcupine quills?
For starters, your dog will have to receive anesthesia so your vet can remove all the quills from his body. If this was a big attack and there were a lot of quills and broken quills, the vet would insist on getting the ultrasound so they can locate all the quills, especially if they were deep in the dog's body.
Depending on the area, the number of quills, and the time the quills have been in the dog's body, the length of treatment can vary, but you must understand that this is a serious procedure.
After the treatment, your dog will be prescribed pain meds, antibiotics, and wound cleansers.
You must closely monitor your dog the next day, and don't be surprised if your dog will be swollen. Your dog needs to recover and if your notice that there are no changes or your dog starts to act weird, contact your vet.
Most of the dogs will fully recover within 10-14 days from the treatment.
What is the prognosis for the dog?
Depending on the attack, the prognosis can differ. Dogs generally recover from the porcupine attack if all the quills are located and extracted. The only time problems can happen if your vet cannot locate all the quills and they remain trapped in the dog's body.
In these situations, your dog could experience deep tissue infection, and quills can easily migrate to the different parts of the dog's body. Because of that, it is important that you closely monitor your dog after the attack and the treatment.
How to protect your dog from the porcupine and its quills?
You can’t do much to protect your dog from porcupines rather than just stay away from them. Since porcupines are active at dusk and dawn, if you will be in areas where porcupines can be found, make sure to always walk your dog on a leash and don't allow him to roam alone unleashed far away from you.
If you do know where porcupines are, the best thing you can do is to choose a different path for your daily walks with your dog. This is the only good prevention.
World Dog Finder team