A New Jersey family is devastated after their dog’s run-in with a porcupine proved fatal. Now, the emotional and financial pain of the death of their beloved dog lingers. Her veterinary bill now amounts to around $20,000.
Miranda DeGennaro’s dog companion, Chester, was on a deck outside their home at 2 am in early September when he encountered the spiked rodent and attacked it. Chester was a 9-year-old dog with a pitbull-mix breed.
“We saw him running and barking, so we ran down the deck, but it was too late,”she said.
DeGennaro believes her dog attacked the porcupine, which left quills on the pet’s face, chest, and abdomen.
But what concerned veterinarians the most was the quills they couldn’t see, the quills Chester swallowed during the encounter. “The quills don’t really show up in CAT scans and x-rays, the damage is what shows up,” DeGennaro said.
“You can’t even do anything to see exactly where they are, so they did the best they could. But being that he swallowed some, they just went everywhere,” DeGennaro said.
DeGennaro, initially, took her dog to a veterinarian in Newton who removed 20 quills from the exterior of the animal. They recommended taking Chester to Oradell Animal Hospital in Bergen County, where surgeries are performed.
She said, “When Oradell did his surgery, they found (a needle) in his pericardium, which is the sac around your heart. So, the quills were everywhere — around his heart, his lungs, his esophagus and in his digestive system.”
She agreed to do the surgery, even after she said the hospital asked for a $12,000 down payment. The concern was that the needles near the dog’s heart would pierce the organ.
A GoFundMe page was set up by a family friend to help with the dog’s medical bills before the pooch underwent surgery and died over the weekend. In the posting, Chester was referred to as “a very energetic boy” who put a smile on everyone’s faces.
“Well, this past week, he decided to take on a porquipine; needless to say, it didn’t end well. Chester ended up having an emergency sleepover at Newton Vet, where they successfully removed the quills from his face and mouth. However there were well over 20 quills stuck in his chest/abdomen. They removed as many as possible, but the fear now is that the remaining quills will begin to migrate into his body rather than out,’’ said the post, which had raised nearly $6,000 for the dog.
DeGennaro said that she didn’t have the down payment, but the hospital agreed to do the surgery to save the dog’s life, telling her she would be responsible for the bill at another time.
“He really did need the surgery and obviously we all thought he was going to live. It was really important for him to get the surgery,” she said. However, Chester dog died and now the owner, a housekeeper, is stuck with veterinary bills more than $19,500, the outlet said. “I really thought he was going to make it,” DeGennaro said. “I’m devastated.”.
Now DeGennaro, who works as a housekeeper, said she’s unsure how she’s going to pay the veterinary bill, which totals more than $19,500.
DeGennaro said she and her family members hope to get the word out to other dog owners to be watchful of porcupines roaming their neighborhoods. She doesn’t want anyone else to go through a costly, heartbreaking, and avoidable tragedy, she said.