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Porcupine Problems

Share Your Story: Tell us about your dog's experience with porcupine quills

By Megan

Porcupine Problems

First time meeting a porcupine.

Porcupine Problems

"I swear never to chase down a porcupine again."

What my dog was doing when we found the porcupine

We were walking through a trail around a lake. My dog was running in the woods when I saw the commotion and ran into the woods to try and stop him. He's a Pittbull, born in Florida, raised in New York. Though he is not vicious towards people, pain is no obstacle when it comes to a foreign animal. I had to get inbetween my dog and where the porcupine was running away before I was able to snap him out of the prey drive and get him back to the trail.

What I did to help my quilled dog

I didn't have time to count them, but there had to be around 150 quills embedded in his chest, paw, nose/mouth area. Where we are, especially on a friday evening, there is no vet for hours. I had to hold him down while my boyfriend pulled every last one out with pliers. We had to frequently give the dog a break. His chest didn't seem to hurt him that much; his paw made him very jumpy but by the time we got there, he understood that by taking them out he was starting to feel better. The worst part of all was his face. They were stuck in extremely painful spots on a muscular pitt, not an overweight pooch. At first, he started to nip. This is behavior I have never seen in my 4 years with him. We touched the pliers to his skin randomly, without pulling, so he could get used to the sensation and not be alarmed by it. If he tried to nip, we put the pliers near his mouth. He would use them to teeth on for a moment, then regress.

Lessons Learned

  • When a dog is in the prey zone, yelling won't help.
  • Porcupine's don't attack, they run away and use spikes for protection. Do your best to get inbetween the dog + porcupine, but not close enough where you could fall on him!
  • When removing quills from your dog, let him shake like a leaf. It is a healthy way for him to vent his pain without biting.

Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com Veterinary Medicine, says:

A trip to the veterinary ER will allow for pain-free (under anesthesia) quill removal and a full body check - these quills can break off and be "invisible" only to surface later (and sometimes inside the body) as infections.
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