Porcupine quills causing medical problems for dogs in the Valley

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:07 PM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 6:43 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Porcupine quills have caused medical issues to dogs that bite them in the Valley.

Anicira Veterinary Center has seen dogs brought into the center with porcupine quills lodged in their mouth from the porcupine’s tail. Porcupine quills are modified scales with microscopic barbed hooks that will stick to animal tissue.

Jessie Vint, licensed veterinary tech at Anicira, said to avoid removing quills with your hands, constant and steady pressure must be administered to safely remove them. Vint

“Quills are not going to come out on their own, if you leave them they will just continue to burrow deeper into the tissue,” Vint said. “If the quills break off or they are just left in the tissue, that can cause an infection, an abscess, or inflammation like cellulitis.”

Vint said that porcupines are nocturnal and are vision impaired. She said the best way to protect your dog from them, is to walk them with a leash at night and keep an eye out for anything that could be harmful to consume.

“If they’re in the mouth then they are probably going to have trouble swallowing or eating because it’s going to be painful for them,” Vint said.

Vint said to not panic in case a dog has quills lodged in its mouth. Call your local vet clinic and schedule to come in whenever possible, the quills aren’t a dire emergency at first but when left unmanaged, can cause systemic infection.