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Porcupines Becoming Problem For Central Texas Pets

Updated: Tuesday, July 15 2014, 06:40 PM CDT
Porcupines are becoming an increasing problem for dogs and cats in and around Austin, according to area veterinarians.

The attacks have doctors issuing a warning.

Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary zookeeper Matt Miklaw says porcupines go wherever food is.

"They are pretty much everywhere," said Miklaw, "They are going to be attracted to our garbage just like rats and raccoons. That's why they come closer to people."

And the closer to people, the closer these large rodents are to your pets.

"The local porcupines are going to be very arboreal. They are going to spend a lot of time up in the trees," said Miklaw.

If the porcupines do come down it means painful consequences.

Several pictures have surfaced with quills stuck in dogs in central Texas.

"The porcupine will back up into them and smack them with the tail. The quills have a tiny hook on them and that's why they stay imbedded in the skin," said Miklaw.

Westlake Animal Hospital Dr. Ian Voezel says emergency clinics typically see more cases, because the attacks often happen at night.

"At our clinic we see a couple a year," said Voezel, "the worst case I have seen is that the dog ate the porcupine. It got in its face, down its throat."

His advice? Keep an eye on your pet outside.

If your dog or cat does come in contact with a porcupine, Voezel warns do not remove the barbs by yourself rather get a professional.

"If they are sticking out a lot of times, we can pull them out without having to surgically cut them out. It's quicker, less expensive and easier on the dog," said Voezel.

For now be on the lookout, but as the drought continues we're told the porcupine problems may increase even more.

By Christie PostPorcupines Becoming Problem For Central Texas Pets

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