Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is here and so are the Porcupines!

Porcupines are quiet, amusing little creatures who simply want to be left alone.  They do not shoot or eject their quills but will swipe their tails swiftly and leave a bunch of needle like quills in whatever the tail happens to touch.  When threatened  tiny erector muscles in the skin will make the  hundreds of quills over the back "stand up" in defense.  Any dog, that dives in thinking an easy meal awaits makes a startling discovery!  If the eyes or throat are affected by the quills, the canine is in real trouble.  Left untreated, as happens in the wild, the quills will eventually create festering and oozing and eventually the quill may be rubbed or scratched out,sometimes it  just may be a long drawn out affair.

A quick trip with anesthesia to the veterinarian's office is the best solution for a quick and easy painless removal.  Porcupine quills do not have barbs at their ends, and have the possibilty of migrating through the dog's tissues if left in.  The points of the quills are extremely sharp and stiff and under the microscope actually appear as if they have scales or  shingles, not barbs, that point backward. Once imbedded into tissues they can be difficult to remove, especially the tiny ones that want to break before they are extracted. Antibiotics may be needed.

Bottom line the sooner the better to remove these needles! Call our office as soon as possible if your pet tangles with a porcupine!A closeup look at the business end of a porky quill!

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