Archive for September, 2018

Helping a Red Fox

M2E64A39L0-172.6779937-75.6409988

Fox with mange looking for its hot dog

This adventure began when I set up a trail camera to try and see who was eating my tomatoes.  I never did find that out (I suspect chipmunks) so I set it up in a different location just to see what animals were in the yard at night.  The camera documented lots of deer, raccoons, and a couple of red foxes, one of which had apparent mange.  Mange is a miserable condition caused by tiny parasitic mites that lay their eggs under the fox’s skin.  The eggs hatch and the larvae burrow causing intense itching.  The fox scratching causes skin lesions and infection develops which weakens the fox, eventually killing it, usually because of starvation.

Now, I realize that foxes are predators of birds and small mammals but it is not in my nature to know an animal is suffering and not to try and help it, if I can.  My research has shown that it is a relatively simple disease to treat, if the fox can be medicated. I decided I would help if I could put medication in food that the fox would eat. I remembered our old friend John in Maine who had a fox coming to his door for a hot dog every day.  In the spring when she had her kits, she waited until he gave her a hot dog for each kit. I found inexpensive hot dogs at the market and the mission of mercy was underway. We first tried trapping the fox with our large Hav-a-Heart, but it was too smart, backing out of the trap with the hot dog.

Then I put the hot dog on our highest woodpile and waited.  The fox found the hot dog after a few nights but the raccoons also discovered it.  I discovered that it needed to go out after dark or other critters got it; Crows, red squirrels and once I even found a Cooper’s Hawk mantling over one.  The fox was learning too.  He discovered that he missed out to the raccoons if he came too late so he started coming at 8:30 p.m.

After a week of the fox getting the hot dog every night I consulted our local vet who provided me with three syringes of the appropriate dose of Ivermectin which I was instructed to inject into the hot dog.  The dosed hot dog was to be administered once every two weeks for six weeks, which will probably be enough to cure the mange.

Last night was the first time I tried and it was with heavy anticipation that I collected the chip from the camera this morning. If you look at the picture you can see the hot dog with the Ivermectin dose lying on the 4×4 on the right.  The fox went up and evidently got the hot dog because it was gone in the next picture.  I’ll continue to put one out at night and give the fox another dose in two weeks.  I’m hoping to see a fluffy tail before long.

Note: Some breeds of domestic dogs can’t tolerate this medication so it is important to be sure to place it out of their reach.

 

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