Basenji vs. Porcupine
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  • It was bound to happen and yesterday was the day. Ella is now 3 years old but this is the first summer that she has been off-leash regularly. This summer she has had off-leash encounters with marmots, squirrels, fox, deer, elk and porcupine. The only encounter that I know of that she had with a pocupine was a couple of months ago and ended after a nervous stand-off , but no quills were exchanged. I was relieved.

    We were about half-way home on a 3 hour hike. Ella was doing her usual wide-ranging exploring and disappearing into the woods occasionally but mostly being very good. I was calling her when I heard a high pitched screetch I had never heard before. A few seconds later she bolted out of the woods about 50 feet from me. She was wearing her jacket and the first thing that I noticed as she ran towards me is that the jacket had somehow been pulled over her head and she was wearing it like a skirt. As she came closer she was obviously distressed and then I saw them! She had about 10 porcupine needles stuck in her nose and muzzle. Luckily I was with a friend who is also one of Ella's most trusted people. After a moment of panic we got her jacket off, leashed her and began to assess the situation. She did not have quills anywhere else on her body. She seemed uninjured except for the quills on her face. We squated on the snowy ground and while my friend held her I tried to remove the first quill. Ella squirmed continuously and the barbs at the end of the quills made them very tough to remove. We decided we needed to move to more stable ground. We got Ella moving and hiked about 5 minutes to a sheltered area with dry ground and a good place to work. It would take over an hour to hike down and try to get her to a vet and I figured we should do our best to get the quills out ourselves. We tried again and this time I managed to get a few quills out cleanly and had an idea of how hard I needed to pull. Hard! Ella was whimpering and also bleeding slightly as we got the quills out. She had 3 or 4 quills right on her charcoal nose and several others in her lips. After about 5 minutes of work we got the last one out. I unleased her and she began to roll her snout around in the grass and snow and seemed unbelievably relieved.

    We continued out hike down home. We met a black Lab on the way down and played and ran with him for several minutes. She seemed fine last night and appears totally normal this morning. I am pretty sure I was more traumatized than she was. I hope this is a lesson that we will only need to learn once.

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  • Wow, glad to hear Ella is OK. With that much wild life maybe you better just keep her on a flexi leash to keep her safe especially when you have hiked for hours. Maybe find an area closer to where you start to have her off leash only so you can quickly get to your car if anything happens. Did you put anything on the parts where the quills were to prevent infection?

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  • It has now been a couple of days and Ella does not seem to have any after effects from the procupine qulls. We gave her a bath and rinsed out her injured area with a disinfectant when we got home. Stories of dogs getting qulled by a porcupine are pretty common around here. I was upset when it happned but did not consider it an unusual hazard. I was just wondering if it happened to ther basenjis on the forum and if they learned to give porcupines plenty of space afterwards.

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  • We once had two dogs, a standard Schnauzer and a Great Dane, that got tangled up with a porcupine. Unfortunately, they had way more than just a few quills…they were covered with them! :eek: In our case, it required a trip to the vet to get them all out. The standard Schnauzer was black and for weeks afterward, we'd find quills in her longer hair.

    I'm glad to hear that Ella survived her encounter with the porcupine and is none the worse for the wear!

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  • We don't have porcupines here. But we do have coyotes and mountain lions. Oh and skunks, which sprayed Buddy three weeks ago. Most nasty pungent chemical smell you could ever experience. Very hard to get rid of. Female deer with their young can be very dangerous. They are aggressive and can kick.

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  • We get porcupines here, but I've been fortunate and not encountered any while hiking. My neighbour had a curious filly that got quilled in the muzzle. Not fun for her pulling those out. Good idea to have pliers to hand. Perhaps you might want to keep your dog within eyesight while hiking for awhile. Some learn from their mistakes, others can't wait to repeat them! I have a friend who had to keep her mixed breed confined because every time he got loose he made a beeline for porcupine territory and invariably came back full of quills. There would be a dead porcupine, however, so I suppose he felt it was worth it. Her vet certainly made money out of the deal, as the dog was usually so full of quills it wasn't possible to get them out at home.

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  • Owww! That sounds so painful, and I can understand the screeching you must have heard when it happened. I'm glad it was not a major quill deposit.

    Basenjis are smart dogs - I suspect Ella will steer clear of the porcupines, but as Dan has mentioned, keep an eye out for the other creatures Ella could encounter.

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    I agree with Fran that perhaps now Ella will steer clear of porcupines. We don't have such animals roaming freely in the UK The nearest is a hedgehog who are very prickly but not aggressive. They just curl up but i've found that once my Basenjis have encountered one and got pricked they don't try again.

    They are much more persistent with other prey.

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  • I had a hedgehog as a pet and let him run around in the house with Becca while watching. I think she tried to 'nose' him once and got poked in the nose. That and he puffed at her and that was the end of that. We have animals like that around here but our yard is chain-linked and page-wired so nothing can really get in. I haven't seen a porcupine around here at all yet though we found out this summer that there is a cougar around this area. A couple of years ago one of the neighbors came downstairs and looked at their deck and the cougar was sleeping on his deck!! I would have freaked!

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