In early September, Ruckus the St. Bernard came to Lollypop Farm after a run-in with a local wild animal that he was already all-too familiar with: a porcupine.
He was surrendered to Lollypop Farm so that he could receive treatment for the quills that were stuck into his jowls, face, and inside of his mouth. His previous owners indicated that Ruckus had an unfortunate history of going after porcupines. Ruckus wasn’t the first, and won’t be the last pup to lose a fight with a porcupine!
While porcupines are more frequently seen Upstate, they can indeed be found around in western New York. Porcupines can have upwards of 30,000 quills at their disposal, and will release them into the face of what they perceive as a potential attacker (even if a dog is just curious and not acting aggressive). The quills are easily detached from the porcupine, but are quite difficult to remove once they’ve been embedded in another animal like a dog. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines can’t actually “shoot” their quills, but a simple swipe of their tail at a dog that’s gotten too close is enough to release them.
Ruckus was treated by the veterinary team here at Lollypop Farm, who quickly worked to detach the quills from around and inside of his mouth. The tips of porcupine quills that puncture the skin are actually shaped like a tiny fish hook, and can be very difficult to remove.
Luckily for Ruckus, our team was able to safety remove all of the quills, and this big pup was feeling better in no time at all. Soon, Ruckus will be available for adoption, and is hoping for a home that is far away from any porcupines!
If your dog has an unfortunate encounter with a porcupine, we recommend the following steps:
- Minimize your dog’s movement. The more they move around after being struck, the deeper the quills become embedded.
- Don’t try to remove the quills yourself – they can break off easily or deepen the puncture of nearby quills, and require a specific removal by a pet care professional.
- Call your veterinarian, and have your dog treated as soon as possible.
It’s also a good practice to keep your dog on leash or close by when hiking or in areas where the possibility of running into a porcupine may be a reality. Click here for more tips for a happy and healthy camping trip with pets. Keeping your dog as far away from porcupines is the very best way to avoid a prickly situation!