Like me, you might not have realised that porcupine quills can kill a dog. The problem is that dogs perhaps inquisitively go towards a porcupine or they treat the porcupine as a prey animal. A porcupine does not shoot the quills at an aggressive animal or predator but they detach from their body easily when touched. They are barbed so that when they enter the skin of the affected animal they can work their way deeper into the body as the dog moves. They may break and the fragment that remains in the skin digs further into it. Some people try to remove the quills themselves but this may be foolhardy. The advice is to get to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. The dog will need to be sedated or operated on under a general anaesthetic. Sometimes quills cannot be removed. A veterinarian might charge around $800 to remove the quills surgically.
Porcupine quills are not poisonous but in sufficient numbers and without treatment a dog can die. Quills are difficult and painful to remove. A porcupine has approximately 30,000 quills on its body. If a person gets one or two of the quills impaled into their body they can be removed at home and the area washed afterwards and antiseptic cream applied. You can also apply painkillers and antihistamines. You should watch the area for swelling and inflammation. Dog owners are advised to leash their dog when they’re in woods if they know that there is a possibility that porcupines may be there. Porcupine quills have a value. The longer the quill the more it is worth. Tail quills are worth $10!
Porcupines are not aggressive. They only attack when threatened. When a veterinarian operates to remove them they do not show up on an x-ray because porcupine quills are made from the same material as hair. It makes it very hard to identify or locate quills that are moving around i.e. migrating.
Online, you can read advice about how to remove a porcupine quill from a dog’s nose. You wear rubber gloves and use a pair of needle-nose pliers to grab the quill while somebody else holds your dog. You may need to cover the dog’s eyes so that the dog cannot see the pliers! You talk to your dog softly and calmly, grasp the quill with the pliers and pull it straight out. I’m sure it hurts tremendously. As mentioned, the North American porcupine’s quills are tipped with microscopic backward-facing barbs. These act like hooks grabbing the soft tissue making them hard to remove. People ask whether they are hard to remove and the answer is yes because in these barbs. If you want to remove a quill from your dog you might want to use Valerio and and chamomile which are both natural sedatives. They are herbs and often found in calming supplements. Porcupines used tooth chattering to warn predators.