When you realize that your dog has come in contact with the business end of a porcupine, you may not know how to react. However, prompt action can help with healing and prevent infection.
If the quills are in or around your dog's eyes or mouth, wrap it in a blanket and get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If the quills are located in other areas of your pets body, you should begin removing the quills and applying first aid. Here are the steps you'll need to take.
Remove the Quills
This process works best with two people – one to hold the dog firmly and one to remove the quills. Be sure to wear heavy-duty gloves when treating your dog. It's also a good idea to wear a long-sleeved shirt to prevent the quills from digging into your arms. Removing the quills can be painful, so be sure to have someone hold your dog firmly during the process.
Carefully grasp the end of a quill with a pair of pliers. Try to grasp the quill as close to the body as possible. Using slow, consistent pressure, pull up on the quill. Try not to yank it out quickly or the quill could break, which will require surgical intervention to correct. Continue the process until you've removed every quill.
Wash the Wounds
When all the quills have been removed, you'll need to wash the wounds. Fill a tub with warm water and add about ¼ cup of liquid antibiotic skin cleanser. You vet can recommend the best cleanser for your dog. Carefully place your dog in the tub and pour the water over the wounds. The warm water will sooth the wounds and the antiseptic cleanser will prevent infections. Repeat the process several times a day until the wounds heal.
Watch for Infection
Porcupine wounds can lead to infection if the wounds aren't kept clean. While the wounds are healing, it's important that you watch for signs of infection, which include:
- Yellowish discharge
If your dog shows signs of infection, be sure to take them to the animal clinic as soon as possible, as unchecked infection can lead to sepsis and scarring.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures. If your dog has gone for a walk in the woods and come in contact with a porcupine, you can use the instructions provided above to remove the quills and make your dog more comfortable.