You Make The Diagnosis: A Dog’s Painful Encounter

Last Saturday night, I treated a unusual case for a city clinic.  A dog went out into his fenced backyard before retiring with his family for the night.  When he returned, blood covered his paws and face.  He was in extreme pain.  Please examine the picture of my patient’s paw then answer the following questions; What happened to this dog?  How is this treated?


Diagnosis:  Porcupine Quills

I was shocked to find porcupine quills embedded in this city dog’s paws, chest and mouth.  These quills are extremely painful and razor sharp.  I immediately gave this dog medicine to control his pain then sedated him while the quills were removed.  Several quills had buried under the skin requiring surgical removal.  He went home on antibiotics and more medicine to lessen pain.  Although he was sore for a few days, this dog went on to make a full recovery.  Below is a close up of a few quills.  


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.