Porcupines don’t live in the south (except for the mountains of Virginia) but do reside in the rest of the country. And where they are regularly found, encounters with dogs that result in quill injuries are common. If your own dog ends up in a tussle with a porcupine and gets quilled, get him to the veterinarian as quickly as possible. In a study of almost 300 dogs quilled by porcupines, those who were brought to the vet after 24 hours were 5.2 times more likely to suffer complications than those who were seen by a vet within the first 12 hours.
Your Dog editor-in-chief and veterinary surgeon John Berg, DVM, isn’t surprised. “Even if the pet reaches the doctor’s office relatively quickly,” he says, “some of the many quills that tend to enter a dog during the attack may already have passed through the skin or lining of the mouth.” From there they can migrate to a lung or other vital organs and cause life-threaten-
Trying to save time by removing the quills yourself is a bad idea. They have backward-facing barbs and can actually enter further into a dog’s body if mishandled. Furthermore, without sedation or anesthesia administered by a doctor, the process of quill removal is exceedingly painful.