Porcupine quills - dogs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by XBusyMotherX, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. XBusyMotherX

    XBusyMotherX Guest

    I'm a suburban gal who has moved to a rural PA area nearly three years ago.
    We've "inherited" two beautiful dogs, a Golden Retriever, and a Border Collie/Australian shepherd mix.

    It was very windy the other night, preceeding a snowstorm that hit yesterday afternoon. I woke up to find my front door blown wide open, and both my dogs gone. Later in the afternoon, my father in law found them running alongside the road headed home from the next town over. Both thier faces were loaded with porcupine quills. My husband pulled 38 of them from the snout and gums of our Golden, and 27 from our BC. Our BC, Maigrey, has been quiet and subdued ever since, and this morning she came to me and I found two more quills, one under her tongue and all but buried inside her jaw, and the other similarly buried along her jawbone underneath. We managed to get both out.

    The Golden still has a quill stuck in his gums that we cannot get out. There's been varying opinions on this. We were told that quills are covered with a fatty acid that prevents infection and shouldn't worry about it. Then, we were told we should cut it out, because quills will work thier way to the animals' brain.

    Now... I'm not terribly educated about animals, and the person who said this owns a herd of sheep and goats, not to mention four dogs, three emu, ducks, geese, chickens, and cats. I'd hate to laugh it off if it might be true.

    So, can anyone give me the skinny on porcupine quills?
     
  2. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    If the quills are on the inside of the jaw bones, they could potentially work their way to the brain and cause serious problems for the dog. Make sure you pull all the quills inside their mouths. If they are on outside of the skull and jaw, they will eventually work their way out of the skin. One dog, I pulled a few quills out of the top of his head 3 years after his run in with the porcupine.

    My rule with dogs, their first time they get quilled, I will pull them. If they grab a porcupine a second time, I put them down.
     

  3. Are you saying you destroy a dog for chasing porcupines?

    That seems rather unjust. Dogs are dogs - not people and should be treated as such! Ever heard of training?

    Jewelstoo
     
  4. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    Hello, fellow Pennsylvanian!! Where abouts in PA are you?
    If you were able to get most of them out, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just do a checkover, and if there is some you can't get or the dog won't let you, a trip to the vet may be in order just to be safe. I wouldn't worry about infection. I too have heard that a porcupine quill can work itself into the brain of an animal, but it would have to be in the upper jaw or inside the upper mouth.
    My border collie has got into a porcupine 3 or 4 times - and she was chained up all those times! You would think a mouth full of quills once, would be a learning experience, but it's not. We only had to take her to the vet once, because there was so many, and she kept wriggling out from under us. The other times it took 2 people, one to pull them out, the other to "sit" on the dog!
    Laura, I think it a bit extreme to destroy a dog just because it got into a porcupine again. If the dog is running loose, part of the blame belongs on you for letting a dog run loose. If the dog is tied up and it happens, 1/2 the blame goes to the porcupine, and 1/2 on the dog.
     
  5. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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  6. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    If it's in the jaw, I'd go ahead and head to the vet's. While it PROBABLY won't get infected, it's got to be pretty painful. Getting the remains of ONE quill out is NOT going to cost you a lot- and you can even let it wait for office hours tomarrow- not an emergency, but I wouldn't leave it till next week.

    Am VERY glad my dogs haven't encountered pourcupines yet.

    Cait
     
  7. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    I have working farm dogs. They are not my children, they are not my babies, they are working partners of farm life. They have full run of the farm so they can do their jobs and they do them well. A farm dog would be quite useless tied up, especially if I didn't bother to go out and check the ruckus when a varmint approached my dog.

    If a dog is too stupid to learn from the first painful experience with a porcupine, and BITES a porcupine again, he is too stupid to be a good, dependable farm dog. There are plenty of good dogs who learn the first time and never repeat the mistake again. There are plenty of good dogs who can tree a porkie and hold it until I get out there to shoot it and never get quilled. I prefer dogs that don't bite things they are unfamiliar with unless they have permission, but I do allow dogs to make mistakes, just not the same ones repeatedly.

    Porcupine dogs are right up there with chicken killers. It is very difficult to find them a new home. If they are biting porcupines, what other wildlife or livestock are they biting, mauling and killing?
     
  8. HorseGal

    HorseGal Well-Known Member

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    To me that seems harsh, it does take some breeds of dog more than once to learn from their mistakes, especially if they are very curious. Instead of puttin' em down why not give them to the pound or an animal shelter? Plenty of people lookin for a dog. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those people that believes in spending a few hndred or even a few grand on keepin a dog w/ say cancer or somethin alive. Once had a cat get hit by a car, killed her eye or somethin like that, Vet wanted $400 to take the eye so bye bye kitty. Now if they had offered to charge $25, than yeah we would have saved her.

    About the porcupine quills, I would go and get it checked by a vet, just to make sure there is no infection and to have it removed. Its cheaper than waiting for the dog to get sick from infection, vet bills have a tendancy to go from 20 bucks to 2,000 in a short time.
     
  9. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Having worked in the animal health field for all of my working life I can tell you all that most of the time a lack of intelligence is not the problem with multiple porkie/dog encounters or skunk/dog encounters either. Some dogs hold a grudge. These are the tough ones(many times Alpha but not always) who just won't put up with it and go out for revenge. A lot depends on the breed and of course there are individuals within breeds with this outlook.

    So, I can well see where having dogs that do not want to repeat one of these encounters is a very good thing in a farm/ranch situation and why the owner wouldn't countenance having a dog with this behavior, but it sure doesn't mean the dog is stupid.

    LQ
     
  10. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    While I don't always agree with LQ, I do this time.
     
  11. stacwase

    stacwase Member

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    My big dumb dog attacked a porcupine this past summer. The vet had to pull out over 200 quills! He's a great big rottweiler/shepherd mix. He saved us from a criminal who broke into our house. I know for a fact that if he was able to attack another porcupine, he'd go for it! He's just oblivious to pain. I have to keep him kenneled or in the house. He does a good job taking care of us, so I do a good job taking care of him!