Removing Cactus Needles

When one lives in Arizona or anywhere where the landscape is characterized by native cacti it is important to know what to do if your pet should have a tangle with prickly spines.

  1. If you choose to remove the spines with tweezers or pliers be sure to first apply an antibiotic ointment, since the spines have created puncture wounds.
  2. If your pet is in too much distress and flails around creating an unsteady canvas for you to work with choose an oven mitt or glove to remove the spines. An oven mitt or glove creates a safe barrier between your hand and spines and allows for quick removal.
  3. If the spines are very fine and/or blend in with the pets coat then running a comb through its coat may allow for easy removal.
  4. After removal wet a wash cloth with warm water, suds up a bit of soap and gently rub over the wounds.

Cactus removal from a pet can be an extremely stressful situation, since it pains one to see their pet in such distress. If you are unsure if you have safely removed all spines it is recommended to call your vet. The vet will be able to remove any you might have missed and can prescribe antibiotics if necessary.