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Unwanted Acupuncture – What to Do If Your Pet Is Attacked by a Porcupine

Fall is on its way! With fall comes a lot of wonderful things like the fall harvest, pumpkin spiced latte’s, crisp fall air, all the colours and so much more! But there is one thing that we see a lot of this time of year, and that’s porcupine quills. For whatever reason, some animals feel that these creatures that are covered in sharp pointy things are a chew toy or playmate. They find out fairly quickly that it probably was not a good idea to go after these guys.

That being said, there is a lot of information online on how to remove these suckers, and a lot of this information can be very wrong. Two of the most common things found are:

  1. Cutting the ends off the quills for easier removal.
  2. Remove them yourself with pliers while someone holds them down (OUCH!!)

These means of removal are not recommended. Cutting the ends off of quills will not help with removal; in fact, it can make removing them more difficult. A lot of the time, owners will cut the ends off quite close to the pet, which leads to the tips having to be surgically removed. Trying to remove them on your own can be extremely painful for the pet because quills are barbed, making them difficult to remove. Also, if you try to remove them on your own, you risk breaking off the tips which can migrate to different parts of your pet’s body. Did we mention that it hurts?

If your pet decides that a porcupine would be a great playmate and ends up with quills as an accessory, it is recommended that you call your veterinarian immediately as this is considered an emergency. They must be removed promptly because as mentioned above, they can migrate and cause a lot of issues. After your pet has had quills removed, you should be checking them over daily for any quills that may have migrated and are working their way out. If you happen to find any, then contact your veterinarian for further information on what they would like you to do.

Happy Fall!

If you have any questions, give us a call at 902.422.8595.

Written by: Halifax Veterinary Hospital

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