Fox, wild rabbits, raccoons and other wildlife mammals are highly susceptible to mange, an irritating skin condition that lasts seven to 21 days, according to the National Fox Welfare Society. The most common types of mange affecting fox are sarcoptic and notoedric mange. Caused by microscopic mites, or arthropods, mange is easy to recognise visually. An infested fox will have patchy fur loss, a foul odour and wet or crusty patches of exudate on the skin. He will itch himself incessantly and may appear weak and dehydrated, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Phone book
- Protective gloves
- Dog food
- Broad-spectrum anti-parasite medication
- Topical anti-parasite medications
- Wide-mouth syringe
If you suspect a wild fox has mange, call a local animal control office or wildlife rescue group, and allow them to handle the treatment.
Mix meat-based dog food with an oral dose of a broad-spectrum anti-parasite medication.
Place the food-medicine mixture in front of the fox in a dog food bowl. The aroma should entice him to eat the mixture on his own. If he doesn't, fill a wide mouth syringe for oral injection. Administer tiny-bite sized portions so the fox can chew and swallow without difficulty. Allow wildlife professionals wearing protective gloves and smocks to hold the fox during the treatment.
For domesticated fox from a zoo or sanctuary, apply topical anti-parasite medications. Bathe a domesticated fox with an anti-parasite shampoo.
Allow a veterinarian to do a skin scraping test every two weeks. After two scrapings test negative for mange, the fox may be returned to his original environment.
Euthanize the fox if the mange is deemed incurable due to its severity. Freeze the fox carcase to prevent the further spread of mange to nearby animals and humans.
Tips and warnings
- A new life cycle of mites reproduces every three weeks. This continual cycle can allow mites to quickly colonise the fox's entire body, causing secondary bacterial infections and conjunctivitis. If left untreated, a fox with mange will usually die after four months.
- Never attempt to catch a wild animal with mange. The microscopic mites that cause mange can be easily transmitted to cats, dogs and humans.
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