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Porcupine Quills and Your Dog

Dogs that frequent the outdoors may come across porcupines. Unfortunately the dog is usually the loser of the fight and they end up with a face and body stuck with quills.

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Quills and your dog

  • Porcupine quills have tiny one-way barbs along the shaft. This allows the quills to continue to move their way inward, into your pet.
  • Cutting or breaking the quills will not make them easier to remove. This will actually make them splinter more, make them harder to remove and also can result in quill fragments getting stuck in the tissue.

What should you do if your dog gets quilled?

  • Your dog should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.image
  • Keep your dog quiet and try to minimize their movement. If your dog is moving around a lot, quills can migrate deeper.
  • Quill removal under sedation or general anesthesia at a veterinary clinic reduces the risk of traumatic quill removal (causing excessive damage to your pet’s skin), reduces quill breakage and allows the veterinarian to do a thorough check of your pet to ensure all the quills are removed.
  • Removing porcupine quills without the benefit of sedation or anesthesia can be very painful for your pet.

What can happen if the quills are not all removed properly?

  • Quills that make there way inside the body have the potential to cause infection and abscesses. Infections can be superficial (near the surface of the skin) or deep in the tissues, which are more serious and difficult to treat.
  • Quills that are not removed can continue to move inward and can puncture through skin and muscle to enter body cavities.
  • Quills have the potential to migrate and embed in joints, poke into the eye, or even penetrate into the brain or other organs, creating a life-threatening situation.

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