If your dog is quilled by a porcupine while hiking, you must not panic, but you do need to realize that this is a critical care situation.
Getting your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic is the top priority once you have neutralized the porcupine threat and safely contained your dog.
If you are out in the wilderness and need to care for your dog while waiting to get them into the emergency veterinary clinic, here's what you should do:
Get Your Dog Away from the Porcupine
The first thing you must do is to get your dog away from the porcupine safely. Each encounter your dog has with the porcupine will result in more and more quills stuck in your dog's face or body.
Porcupine quills carry bacteria and are hard to remove, so the fewer stuck in your dog, the better.
If your dog was quilled and is still messing with the porcupine, then you must separate them. Be careful not to get any quills from the porcupine on yourself while removing your dog.
Understanding Porcupine Quill Basics
Porcupine quills have barbs. The barbs on the end of the quills stick in your dog's skin. If not removed quickly, the quill shaft heats up from your dog's body temperature, and the barb works its way farther and farther into their skin.
A porcupine quill will work its entire length into your dog's body if left to its own devices. If the quill moves to your dog's heart, it will kill them.
Since breaking off a quill is a serious problem, they should be removed by a vet.
Porcupine Quill Removal Is Not a DIY Medical Procedure
A veterinarian must remove porcupine quills. This is never a DIY procedure for pet parents.
Even if you are hours away from a dog critical care center, you need to stabilize the dog and then get them in as soon as possible.
Not only does your dog need pain medication before removing the quills, but it is also vital to correctly remove the entire quill and barb, or your dog could end up needing emergency surgery or die.
How the Emergency Veterinary Clinic will Treat Your Quilled Dog
Once you arrive at the dog critical care center, a veterinarian will sedate your dog, safely remove each quill one by one, and then apply an antiseptic wash to help prevent infection.
Finally, when your dog is discharged, you will be given a prescription antibiotic to give your dog for a week or two to ensure the porcupine quills don't give your dog an infection.
Contact an animal hospital like South Seattle Veterinary Hospital to learn more.