Thanks to our warm weather porcupine season has started early this year. Are you familiar with any of these?
1.Porcupines can shoot quills.
False. Porcupines can swing their tails into your dog, embedding more quills but they cannot “shoot” quills.
2. Cutting quills releases air and they will fall out.
False. The barbs on quills are like fish hooks and cause the quills to work in deeper. Cutting them only makes the quills harder to find and remove.
3. If I remove the quills myself my dog will never attack a porcupine again.
False. Removing quills yourself causes your dog to associate the pain with you and is a good way to get you and your dog injured. Dogs do not “learn” after the first incident but some dogs can become more aggressive with porcupines and will regularly hunt them and try to kill them. Sedation, and sometimes a full anesthetic, is needed to safely remove quills.
4. Quills can kill my dog.
True. Because quills are barbed they can work further into the body. If they pierce something critical (lungs, large blood vessels, organs) it can kill a dog. Sometimes this occurs days, weeks, or months after the original incident. Having the quills removed by your veterinarian as soon as possible is the best way to try and prevent this.
Does your pet insurance cover quill removal? Many do, check your policy today.