Ouch! Quills!

Porcupine quills can be very painful for your pet. It is important to have them removed as soon as possible. If there are a large number of quills, or if they are in the throat, mouth or eyes, your pet will need to be anaesthetized in order to completely remove them (and it will be much less painful!). In these instances, do not attempt to remove them yourself.

However, if you are in a remote area, you can try to pull them out on your own. Be sure to wear gloves to prevent yourself from getting pricked. Speak softly and quietly to your dog; they are generally frightened at this stage. Be prepared for a lot of whining and yelping, as this does hurt. Get a pair of pliers and grab the quill firmly as close to the dog’s skin as possible, and always check in the mouth. Pull gently and slowly so as to be sure you get the whole quill. You may need to give your pet a break between quills, so be patient. Once all quills are removed, rinse the area with an antibacterial soap and water to help prevent infection (antibiotics are often needed also), and always see your veterinarian for a recheck.

Quills that are left in an animal can migrate through the body and cause serious problems. Do not clip the quills short as this makes them harder for your vet to remove. Basically, quills are painful and hard to remove completely, so whenever possible have your veterinarian do the procedure with sedation or anaesthetic. Everyone will be happier and safer.

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