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Fox Update-Final


I’ve decided that our fox is cured of mange. Here’s the fox getting the hot dog and looking just as fluffy as the other fox with the exception of the tip of its tail.  I’ve decided that it is probably permanently damaged.  I ended up successfully administering six doses of Ivermectin, falling between the veterinarian’s recommended three doses and the eight doses recommended by a British Fox Preservation Association on line.  I’ll continue putting out hot dogs for a while at least.

Here’s my first shot of our mangy fox taken on September 20th.  I feel so good!



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Fox Update #7

Well, last night was the night for the 6th dose.  As you can see, a fox got the hot dog (left), but not the fox I wanted to get the hot dog (right).  This does, however, give me a useful comparison for how far “my” fox needs to go before he is truly recovered.  I’m beginning to wonder if the end of his tail is permanently damaged as it’s still just the bony end I see.  He is looking a lot better now.  I thought of him in his den, snugly wrapped in his new tail during these past two frigid nights.  I’ll try again tonight with the medication.  If the other fox has any mange, I suppose it’s a good thing he got the dose.

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Fox Update #6


I was finally successful in getting the 5th dose to the fox and look how much better he looks!  It’s very gratifying.  The Ivermectin seems to have been very effective.  I still have enough in the bottle for about 250 more doses…

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Fox Update #5


Here is the fox getting the fourth dose of Ivermectin and looking ever so much better.  My issue now is whether or not to buy another package of hot dogs to keep going on the dosage every ten days.  I have five left from the latest package but it is a challenge to get the hot dog to the fox with all the other critters that have discovered the nightly bounty.  We now have an extremely healthy looking cat coming regularly in addition to the rats and raccoons.  On first glance I thought this might be another fox because of the bushy tail but the coloration is wrong.

I’m not sure what to do.  The way mange works is that the adults lay the eggs under the skin and eggs hatch out in about 10 days. The Ivermectin taken by mouth apparently kills only the adults.  This is why you wait and give the medication at 10 to 14 day intervals, so all the egg stages are killed.  I just don’t know if I’ve killed all the adults and there are no remaining eggs to hatch.


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Fox Update #4

We have not been able to get a fourth dose into the fox as other animals have beaten it to the hot dog (last night the rat again).  When I compare the first dose picture (left) with last night, I do think I see improvement.  The vet told me that the three doses he has received would be enough but other sources on the internet say as many as eight are needed since it isn’t a subcutaneous application.  I’ll keep trying.  I guess the worst that can happen is that the rats and raccoons won’t have mange.

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Foiled Again!


Several individuals visited the woodpile last night but the rat got the prize.  We used to have wood rats here but this rat’s tail doesn’t look bushy so I have to assume it’s a brown or Norway rat.  This is good because wood rats are protected (thought to be extirpated now in Connecticut) and brown rats are fair game.  We’ll put out a trap to try and catch the rat. The fox came too late again but I do think he’s looking more furry.  We’ll try again tonight.  Here he is, searching in vain.


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Fox Update: Seven Minutes Too Late!

Darn!!  The Masked Marauder got the hot dog with the fourth dose of Ivermectin.  Note the times: raccoon at 9:00, fox at 9:07.  We’ll put another dose out tonight in hopes the raccoon won’t come early.  On the positive side, I do think the fox is starting to look better!

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Fox Update #3


I was worried because it didn’t appear for two nights but last night it was back and that was the night we gave it the third dose of Imervictin.  I really don’t see any difference so I plan to give it a fourth dose in another ten days, if it is still coming.  I have very mixed emotions about this after hearing the results of the Piping Plover monitoring I have been involved in for the past several years.  This year at least one exclosure was predated by a fox and the nest was lost.  These are endangered birds and foxes are not endangered but mange is a brutal, painful way for an animal to die so I plan to continue.

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Update on the Mangy Fox


The fox took the second dose of Ivermectin last night, 10 days after the first.  I’m concerned that it doesn’t look any better but it probably takes a long time for the fur to grow back.  It didn’t come back for 6 days after the first dose so it either tasted terrible or made it feel sick.  At least it now has the second dose.  Stay tuned!

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Helping a Red Fox


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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