On August 31, 2020, our Scotties, Toby and Tillie, had an unfortunate encounter with a porcupine.
Toby, our male Scotty came in from outside before bedtime and we immediately notices the quills in his snout. He was able to eat and drink so we decided to call the vet the first thing in the morning. He got through the night with no issues.
It wasn’t until the next morning, when I gave Tillie a chin scratch, that I was stabbed by two of the quills that were in her snout. The quills are quite sharp, even on the broken ends.
We were right not to try to remove them on our own since the quills are barbed. The barbs expand when they are exposed to body heat, are quite brittle and there is the risk of driving them deeper into the body.
The vet sedated both Scotties and removed the quills. Tilled had 15 embedded quills and Toby had 12. The vet also confirmed that they were porcupine quills. The dogs each received an analgesic and antibiotic.
Until last night, I had no idea that there are porcupines in our area. They live in a narrow range across central PA which includes our region. They are classified as rodents, are herbivores, mostly nocturnal, and are pests due to the damage they can inflict by chewing tree bark, leather and wood in their search for salt.
We have four dogs now. We call them The Oreos Double Stuff.
This is Toby, our male Scottish Terrier, and is 3-years-old. He’s a bit of a kleptomaniac. He likes to steal shoes, gloves, etc. just to be chased. His other past time is barking at rabbits. He loves belly rubs. His dislikes are thunder and fireworks, and going to the vet. He’s shown in his favorite spot, under a bench on his bed.
This is Tillie, our female Scottish Terrier, who is also 3-years-old. She is the spokesdog of the group. Tillie will remind us when it’s mealtime, when to put on their lighted collars, and when our younger dogs are getting in trouble. She also serves as my alarm clock in the morning. One of her past times is chasing rabbits.
This is Trixie, our female West Highland Terrier. She likes to play tug-of-war and chasing her younger sibling. She also likes playing with our older Scotties. Right now, she is dealing with being a middle child. At roughly 20-months-old, she’s still a puppy at heart.
This is Tripper, our newest member of the family. He is a male West Highland Terrier and a spitfire. At 11-weeks-old, he’s already climbing stairs. He’s quite the talker as well. He likes to untie shoelaces and chasing his older sibling, Trixie.
Tripper is now a year old and he has grown up a great deal. He is larger and heavier than his sister, Trixie, but he is still a puppy at heart.
Our Scotty, Toby Two, has had a rough few weeks. From June 24 until July 6, fireworks were launched almost every night. During the first few times, he would run to an enclosed space such as the laundry room, his crate, our dog’s toy box, or under a chair in my office. Now he looks for me and lies down in a dog bed next to me in my office or in the living room. Toby Two doesn’t like thunder either, and he exhibits the same behavior when a storm passes through.
Last October, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania rewrote the 80-year-old fireworks law, making them easier to purchase. That is what made it worse this year as far as Toby Two is concerned.
Our dogs (Tillie) got me up shortly before 6 AM. I took all three for a walk but it was difficult. The leashes keep getting tangled.
While we were in Akron, our Westie, Trixie had a spa day. Here’s what she looks like now.
You can see her eyes clearly now.
Packed up the rig, got it ready for travel and left the campground around 11:30 AM. Made a stop at a Pilot Service Station, at The Ohio Turnpike interchange, for fuel and lunch. With my Good Sam membership I got a discount for gasoline.
The Ohio Turnpike has a speed limit of 70 mph. However, there were several construction zones with a speed limit of 50 mph. It is a long, boring expressway. Imagine The New Jersey Turnpike, but twice as long.
We stopped at the Erie Islands Service Area for a break and once more at the last exit, before Indiana, at a Quality Inn. Here’s Toby Two, one of our Scottish Terriers, during our last break of the day.
We arrived at the campground, at about 6 PM, in Coldwater, MI. I officially added Michigan to the list of states I have visited that didn’t involve an airport.
Long range forecast for Eclipse Day in Nebraska is looking good. Mostly sunny with a high of 87 deg F.
Two weeks ago, we acquired a new addition to our family. We brought home a West Highland Terrier puppy which we named Trixie. She is a little spitfire and can hold her own against our older Scotties, Tillie and Toby Two. It took a few days, but the Scotties have accepted her.
Trixie is now eleven weeks old. For such a small puppy, at 4 pounds, she can be quite vocal and loud. I can hear her upstairs at the other end of the house. She is starting to learn how to navigate stairs. Not too much problem going up, but unsure of going down. She has also adapted well to crate training. We expect it will be several weeks until she’s housetrained.
Trixie was a big hit at the nursing home. Residents, and staff alike, enjoyed her visit.
Since I retired, and except for mornings when I have an early appointment, I have rarely used my alarm clock. Instead, one of our Scottish Terriers, Tillie, provides me with a wakeup bark. Usually, between 6:30 and 7:00 AM, she’ll let me know it’s time to get up. She’ll also get more insistent if I ignore her, or if she feels that I am taking too long. Then she’ll whimper in a classic appeal to emotion. Then it’s time for our morning walk and breakfast.
Until yesterday afternoon, my wife and I had not heard of a genetic condition specific to Scottish Terriers. Our Scotties, Toby Two and Tillie, normally very active, became listless after prolonged exercise in our backyard. We immediately took them to the vet and learned about their ailment.
“Scotty Cramp” is a hereditary neuromuscular disorder characterized by periodic cramps. It is seen in Scottish Terriers, especially those less than one year of age. As we observed, the condition’s appearance was quite startling, an its onset was rapid. However, it does not usually represent a serious health problem or cause pain.
Episodes of Scottie Cramp typically first manifest in young dogs or puppies. Our Scotties are now 15 months old. Symptoms occur during or shortly after periods of intense excitement, stress, or exercise and may include any of the following:
Stiff hind limbs that appear cramped
Awkward, marching movements
Shortness of breath
Facial muscle contractions
Contraction of facial muscles
Arching of lumbar spine
An episode of Scottie Cramp can last up to thirty minutes, with varying levels of severity. As we observed, its onset occurred after the stress of moving to a new home and after increased activity. Although it is inherited, some experts believe Scotty Cramp to be the result of a disorder in serotonin metabolism within the dog’s central nervous system.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment available at this time. However, behavioral modification and/or environmental changes have been shown and are recommended to eliminate triggers which may cause the onset of symptoms.
Mild sedatives, such as diazepam, may be useful if behaviors are difficult to modify or in advance of a planned event that may be stressful. Also, Vitamin E is thought to be beneficial in reducing the likelihood of an attack, although it does not appear to impact the severity of the cramping.
After 24 hours of resting and reduced activity, our dogs have returned to their normal active selves.