Fruit Valley Veterinary Clinic

Wounds and Trauma in Dogs

Meticulously keep the cast clean and dry. Use plastic bag in wet weather. Call for immediate recheck if you notice swollen toes, bad odor or mutilation. Failure to act promptly may lead to gangrene. If the cast gets wet, it may be carefully dried with a hairdryer (beware of excessive heat). The cast may become loose and require replacement as the limb muscles atrophy and any acute swelling resolves. Call if there is a problem.

Monitoring a Hit-By-Car

Things to check on a pet recently struck by a vehicle: gums should be pink, breathing should NOT be labored or excessively open-mouthed, extreme tired-ness or depression may mean shock. Drinking & urinating are good signs.

Care of Open Wounds

The wound is to be kept open to allow drainage. Pockets of fluid or pus should be expressed. The wound may be hot-packed with a warm wet washcloth for 5 minutes several times daily to speed healing & prevent early closure.

Quill Removal Aftercare:

We believe that we removed all the quills. However, sometimes quills may be buried under the skin and be initially undetectable. These may fester and show up as bumps days later. Also, occasionally quills may emerge from the skin days or weeks later. Call if there is swelling or painfulness. In very rare cases, quills may migrate into other parts of the body (tendons, joints, near the heart, eyes).

Also, some dogs develop a propensity for seeking out porcupines and repeatedly get quilled. Please try to avoid allowing the opportunity for this.

Quill Myths

Throwing quills - Contrary to popular belief, the porcupine cannot "throw" the quills, but they are easily "let go of" by the porcupine and embedded in animals who tangle with it.

Quills working their way out - Quills may get infected and work themselves out, but most often, they continue to work inward. I once treated a dog who the people tried to treat at home. They removed what quills they could, then figured the rest would work their way out. A few weeks later, we saw the dog - covered in abscesses all over the body from the remaining quill tips.

Breaking quills - Some people advocate crushing the quill to "let the air out" of it, but quills are like the shaft of a feather. This doesn't work; they just get more splinter-y.


Quills have very tiny one-way barbs along the shaft of the quill. This make is easy for quills to keep moving... inward!

Quills may puncture through skin and muscle to enter body cavities, puncturing organs.

Pulling quills out is risky - quills break off easily, and "tenting" of the skin while pulling out quills may bury nearby quills, making them almost impossible to remove.

Quills inside the body also cause infection and abscesses.

Your veterinarian is best-equipped to remove quills. Quill removal is painful and quills may break off inside your pet. Removing quills under anesthesia reduces traumatic removal/quill breakage and allows for more throrough checking. (All muscles and skin are relaxed, making it easier to palpate for quills).

From - Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM