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Pulling quills from farm dogs

 
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I have had to deal with farm dogs coming home with mouthfuls of porcupine quills on multiple occasions. The first time the dog was taken to the vet and I paid a $400 bill for sedation and extraction. After that I decided to deal with them myself in the future. The vet refused to sell me anything that I could use to sedate my dogs at home but another person in the waiting room suggested an over the counter medicine. I googled it and used it successfully on several occasions. One of my dogs never needed it, she just sat and took the pain in stride but another one wouldn't stop moving or nipping unless sedated.

I started with a pair of needle nose pliers but after the second round of quills and cramped hand muscles I invested in locking offset forceps. They made it so much easier. Once locked onto the quill the only muscle needed was the removal. I strongly recommend buying them in person. They should be comfortable to hold and have a secure grip. Don't cheap out.

Another thing I learned to do was wrap the squirmy dog in a blanket burrito style before brandishing the forceps. Then he couldn't jump or paw at me or his face. The best technique I found was to get him to lay down on the middle of the blanket, after the sedative started kicking in, and then fold the two wings over his back snuggly. Petting and talking the whole time. Leaving only his face sticking out. (This wont work for quills in their feet etc) I then conscripted a volunteer to straddle him to hold the blanket in place and prevent roll overs. After that it was just the fun of pulling quills.

If possible, blindfolding the dog is helpful too. They see me going for a quill and struggle in anticipation of the pain.  

Once the quills were out I gave the dogs only clean fresh water until the bleeding stopped. Usually took less than an hour or so depending on depth and location. Jowls and gums stopped sooner than the nose. I didn't want food particles getting into an open wound.

It took up to a couple hours from the beginning to the end depending on which dog and how many quills but even after two hours of work and struggle, I saved $400 each time. So I was essentially making $200/hour by doing it myself.

Has anyone else sedated their dogs for quill removal or other injury treatments?
86K9390-offset-forceps-set-of-2-f-89.jpg
Offset forceps
Offset forceps
 
pollinator
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It's been years, but I have done it. Without strong sedation, it's a lousy, miserable job. If the quills are in deep, or deep in the mouth I would let our vet handle it.

My current solution is to actively remove porcupines from the picture. So far, so good, and hoping for the best.
 
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A few years ago one of my dogs got into a porcupine pretty good.  While the vet was pulling quills on my sleeping dog he said "You really don't need to pull these, they will fester up and come out in a few days on there own.  If the dog can drink it will be alright."  I haven't pulled a quill since!  It has worked for me but suit yourself.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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I'm surprised a vet would tell you that. I guess it depends on the location of the quill.

Porky quills are barbed, so they never pull out on their own; they just work their way deeper in the flesh. They don't really break down either, to the best of my knowledge. And if the dog ingests them ... endless grief.

Sort of like humans ingesting stainless steel 'needles' that are fragile, breaking off of BBQ brushes but never breaking down in tissue because they are corrosion resistant. Who the bleep ever thought that was a good idea?
 
Bryan Elliott
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These quills were in the face and inside of the mouth  (the dog was a Blackmouth Cur).  I've not pulled quills since and the  dogs and cows that have got quills lost them.  I'll trust my own experiences and that of a vet that has been around a long time.  Like I said, you can suit yourself.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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It's fair to note this thread is about farm dogs. They are working dogs, and I know from experience they live a rough and ready life -- filled with activity, freedom, and natural hazards. (The same applies to farm cats.) But it's a lively and engaging life, with a quick end if things go wrong. Not a bad life at all; and for working dogs the standard of care is understandably different from pampered pets.

For me, personally, I can't see a scenario where I would not pull the quills or have it done. I'm going to look into this further, to get a better understanding of the depth of the hazard to the animal's long-term well-being. There is always more to learn.
 
Rex Reeves
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I expect quills can fall out on their own. I have allowed splinters in myself to fester and come out on their own, instead of digging them out. Or they have even healed over and eventually surface as the skin grows.

My view on quills in the dog, especially in the mouth area, are that while the dog has quills they are suffering, having trouble eating, and not out in the yard or field doing their job chasing pests or predators. I think it is more beneficial to the dog and farm as a whole to pull them as soon as possible.

Getting a mouthful of quills may teach a dog not to bite a porcupine but just as likely the dog will bite again out of vengeance or ignorance. Getting rid of the porcupine is a topic for another thread I think.
 
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Going back to the OP,  I would look for a different vet.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Rex Reeves wrote:My view on quills in the dog, especially in the mouth area, are that while the dog has quills they are suffering, having trouble eating, and not out in the yard or field doing their job chasing pests or predators. I think it is more beneficial to the dog and farm as a whole to pull them as soon as possible.


That sounds reasonable to me. I like your idea of using a hemostat (locking forceps). And yes, the cost of vet services is pretty hard to swallow sometimes. Did your sedative start with "B"?
 
Rex Reeves
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:
That sounds reasonable to me. I like your idea of using a hemostat (locking forceps). And yes, the cost of vet services is pretty hard to swallow sometimes. Did your sedative start with "B"?



The sedative does indeed start with a "B". I don't recall the exact dose I was giving but it was on the low end of recommended mg/kg. The dog did not actually fall asleep ever but he did become lethargic enough to get the job done. Without proper training it is all too easy to give too much and go from "falling asleep" to "put to sleep".
 
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