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Do you wonder about why porcupines mean trouble for some dogs?


Click here to learn about porcupines and about aversion training 
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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

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Most often an encounter between dog and porcupine ends with the dog having a few quills pulled and perhaps having quills migrating through the body for a week or two (point first), exiting on their own.  Porcupines are a mostly nocturnal animal that is common in our area of Alberta, Canada.  The only vulnerable part of a porcupine is his belly, the rest of this rodent is covered with sharp, barbed quills.  These quills will enter the skin, and are difficult to pull out.  If they become embedded in the skin or are broken off, they will travel around inside the body and can damage organs and other tissues.



Acer is shown here after such an encounter.  During a routine run in Spring 2000, he attacked a porcupine. 

Below are photos of Acer before the Porcupine Quills were pulled and during their removal.  This was a very bad encounter for Acer, and it took a long time to pull the quills from his skin.  We pulled most of the quills using a medical instrument called a hemostat.  The quills in Acer's side were removed by our Veterinarian with Acer tranquilized as these quills were deep and had entered the abdomen.  Many quills had already broken off under the skin.  Shortly after removal of the quills Acer went into shock. He was rushed back to the veterinarian and was placed on InterVenious fluids, antibiotics and steroids.  A few days later he came home to us and continued to have a slow recovery.  

This was such a terrible ordeal that we decided to begin Aversion Training our Griffons so that they would avoid porcupine encounters.  View our Aversion Training Page... in process.

acer Acer has porcupine quills everywhere.  You can see them in his nose, and around his eyes.  

Here I am pulling the quills with a hemostat.

Acer has been trying to rub the quills off of his face, and had rubbed the hair off and broken off quills in the hairless area.  You can see quills beside his eye, in is chest and in his legs.  There are other quills under the skin which will have to be removed by surgery. dog with porcupine quills
porcupine quills in dog The quills are inside the mouth as well, Acer must have bitten down on the Porcupine, as the quills were through the tongue, lips and into the roof of the mouth.  They were also in his gums.  You can see how swollen Acer's lips are, even with most of the porcupine quills pulled, there are quills under the skin.
The quills on the abdomen were the ones that caused the complications.  Porcupines have strong, thick tails which they can slap against an antagonist.  We think that these quills were driven deep by a strike from the Porcupine's tail. Dog hurt by Porcupine Quills

A year after the above event, quills were still migrating through Acer and in spring 2001, Acer nearly died again.  He was declining quickly and within a few days of the onset of his illness, he could not even stand from a lying down position.  An   abcessed porcupine quill was the culprit.   He was put on steroids and major antibiotics, and he recovered within 3 weeks.  

Now, 18 months after the encounter he appears to be healthy again.  


Porcupine Quills in Dog





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For further information, contact

Griffonpoint Kennel

Katy Steuhm katy@griffonpoint.com
California - USA

Shannon Ford shannon@griffonpoint.com
Alberta/British Columbia, Canada


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All Rights Reserved. Copyright ¬© Shannon Ford 1997 - You may copy this page for personal use only, providing it is not changed, and that credit rests with the author, Shannon Ford.. ¬©Shannon Ford 1997