DRAPER, Utah — Two dogs were injured by a porcupine in the Deer Ridge off-leash area in Draper on Sunday morning.
Deepthi Prasanna was on a hike with friends as her two dogs took off.
“Finally after 10 minutes of me yelling their name, this guy shows up with a mouth, his mouth full of quills,” said Prasanna.
Her dogs, King and Champagne, both returned to her side covered with dozens of porcupine quills.
One of her dogs had to be carried by some of her friends to a car, and they were both then taken to an emergency veterinary clinic. Both dogs were sedated, the quills were removed, and they're now recovering.
“Lots of swelling, difficulty eating, maybe increased salivation, they just look really painful,” described Alex Park, a veterinarian at Valley Veterinary Hospital in Draper.
Park says vets in the Salt Lake Valley end up seeing between 5-10 dogs each summer with quills from porcupines.
“What we need to do is remove the quill in its entirety, so we have to go in and remove the whole porcupine quill and then the barb which keeps it in place," he explained.
Park advises against people removing and clipping the quills on their own because doing so could cause more harm to the animal.
“Sometimes when the owners tend to clip these, they can be hard to find, and if they become hard to find, we might miss them, and then they can become painful and abscess in the future,” Park said.
In terms of prevention, Park advises dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash and have very good "recall" with their furry friends.
Prasanna said her dogs typically do have good recall, but it’s something she plans to work on in the future.
“Recall is the most important, you know, I think yesterday that failed to happen, and I’m going to be training with them more,” she said. “It was a scary experience, but we got through it.”
Wild Aware Utah gives tips on its website about how to avoid conflict with porcupines.