According to Brian Handwerk, you can tell a situation is grim if Google comes up empty. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened when he typed “dog ate dead porcupine,” into the reputable search engine.
Brian had been out skiing with his dog, Scooby, when the pooch veered off the edge of the trail. “He was gone for a while, which is unlike him,” Brian said. “When he came back, he had a couple of porcupine quills in his mouth and he stunk like carcass.” Aside from the quills, the mixed-breed canine gave Brian no reason to be alarmed, until the two returned home. “Everything seemed fine until he started throwing up quills – just balls and balls of quills,” said Brian. “There was nothing anywhere online and I just remember thinking, ‘This is bad.’”
After a sleepless night, Brian took Scooby in to the local animal hospital. Nobody in the office had heard of this happening and the veterinarian spoke candidly about the possible outcome. “Our veterinarian was concerned that the situation would be fatal if the quills migrated through his stomach or intestines,” said Brian. “They gave him a laxative and a pill to coat his stomach. All we could do was wait for them to pass.”
Fortunately, Scooby was able to expel the quills and make a full recovery. Brian believes that the porcupine had been dead in the snow for awhile, which must have softened the quills – a factor he considers to be their saving grace. But he cautions pet owners against thinking dead porcupines are any less dangerous to our furry friends.
“Any time pets encounter porcupine quills, there is a chance it could be fatal,” said VPI’s Director of Veterinary Marketing Dr. Silene Young. “If your pet comes into contact with a porcupine, don’t try to pull the quills out yourself because the barbs can get stuck. It’s best to see a veterinarian immediately. Scooby is very, very lucky.”
It wasn’t long before Scooby was back to his normal antics, which included eating part of an Easter basket just weeks after he recovered from the porcupine incident. “He’s extremely lovable, though he has no discernment of what to eat,” said Brian. “We’re glad Scooby has VPI Pet Insurance because it gives us peace of mind. It saves us from having to worry about what we would do if something major happens because we know we won’t have to make decisions based on cost.”