Porcupines have approximately 30,000 sharp quills on their bodies, and although porcupines might seem vicious, porcupines are actually timid creatures. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines don’t go out of their way to quill people or pets, such as dogs and cats. Those who are quilled by a porcupine are quilled because they came into direct contact with the porcupine, and the porcupine was only trying to protect itself. People cannot be impaled by a porcupine throwing quills, and with proper care, pet cats and dogs rarely die of being quilled by a porcupine.
If your dog or cat is an unfortunate victim of a frightened porcupine, you should know the best methods of removing porcupine quills. You should also know how to treat wounds left by porcupine quills, as well as when to consider taking your dog or cat to the vet for professional wound care.
There is more to removing a porcupine quill than simply pulling the quill out. The following information provides instructions on removing porcupine quills from pets such as dogs and cats. Hopefully you will never need this information on removing porcupine quills from your dog or cat, but if you do, your dear pet will go through less suffering if you are well informed and know how to remove painful porcupine quills.
How to Properly Remove a Porcupine Quill
The reason porcupine quills have to be pulled out with extreme care is because porcupine quills have sharp barbs. The sharp barbs pull the porcupine quills deeper and deeper into the flesh of the unfortunate victim, so quickly removing porcupine quills is paramount. Because of the barbs, porcupine quills require special care in removal since twisting or turning a quill can cause a considerable amount of pain and damage to an already injured dog or cat.
A dog or cat that has been quilled by a porcupine is usually in a great amount of pain, and when animals are in pain they are more likely to bite. Even if your dog or cat would normally never bite, it’s important to muzzle your pet to prevent your pet from biting out of fear.
If you don’t have a muzzle for your dog, create a muzzle by closing your pet’s mouth and tying it firmly with a strip of cloth tied behind the head. A cat will have to be controlled by someone holding the cat by the scruff of the neck. This may seem cruel, but it’s in your pet’s best interest to remove the porcupine quills as quickly as possible.
After gaining control over the injured cat or dog, firmly grasp the quill as close to the skin as possible, and pull the porcupine quill straight out. If the quill breaks off, or if the quill is already broken off, a veterinarian might have to remove the quill while the cat or dog is sedated.
After all of the porcupine quills are removed from your cat or dog, clean the wounds with warm water and antibacterial soap. Dry the area, and apply antibacterial ointment. Since pets lick their wounds, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on the type and brand of ointment to use. Watch the wounds caused by porcupine quills for signs of infection until the wounds have fully healed.
Keeping Your Pets Away From Porcupines
A dog or cat that has never been quilled by a porcupine doesn’t realize the danger that porcupines pose, and if you live in a location where porcupines are common, you are no doubt faced with the constant threat of a playful or curious pet dog or cat being quilled by a wandering porcupine. Even dogs or cats that have been quilled by a porcupine sometimes don’t remember their painful experience.
Since you can’t warn a pet dog or cat about the dangers of making friends with a porcupine, all you can do is install a fence around your yard, or a portion of your yard, in an effort to keep porcupines at bay. Also, since porcupines are nighttime creatures, avoid letting your pets out at night. Unfortunately cats can’t be contained unless they are strictly house cats, and even after taking the proper precautions, sometimes a pet dog or cat is quilled by a porcupine.