Wildlife Conferences

Conferences

Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland

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IWM Flyer

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Fox
Vulpes vulpes - Sionnach / Madra rua

 

EMERGENCY SHORT TERM CARE INFO FOR GENERAL PUBLIC

Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organisation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance

FOX - Frequently Asked Questions

NEED RESCUING?
CAPTURE
SHORT TERM CARE ADULT
SHORT TERM CARE CUB



DOES IT NEED RESCUING?

 

HELP NEEDED
  • Road traffic casualty
  • A fox that will allow you to approach it is sick 
  • Damaged limb/s
  • Obvious wounds
  • Injured cub
  • Mange
  • Cub IF it’s on its own, and ONLY after lengthy observation from a distance
  • Trapped or caught e.g. in fence – do NOT cut free and release until fully assessed
  • If unresponsive/unconscious – needs veterinary attention immediately

               
 HELP NOT REQUIRED

  • ALL  APPARENT ORPHANS, (unless injured, in dangerous situation, or definitely alone)
  • If you are not equipped
  • If you or others would be put in too much danger           

               
IT DOES NEED RESCUING, WHAT NEXT?

FIRST try to call relevant contact number from CONTACT page for further advice
Foxes are strong animals with a dangerous bite, do not handle unless confident

WANT TO ATTEMPT CAPTURE

  • Follow capture instructions below
  • Capture ONLY if you have adequate equipment and container
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Bring to a vet if possible, if not bring home temporarily
  • Follow husbandry advice for feeding and housing
  • Call relevant contact number from CONTACT page for further advice

DON’T WANT TO ATTEMPT CAPTURE

  • If you can approach the animal lay a blanket/coat over the casualty for warmth
  • If animal is on the road, protect it from traffic if possible
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Do not drag the animal off the road, IF safe to do so, lift it to a safe place on a coat/towel
  • (see Unconscious casualty capture)
  • Note exact location and call relevant person from CONTACT page
  • Ideally stay with the casualty until someone comes to help

 


CAPTURE

Equipment
Useful Items -, blanket, gloves, sack, dog carrier or wire mesh container, in an emergency and only temporarily a dustbin could be used.
Long handled nets, soft headed broom, ‘dog grasper’
Ideally at least 2 people
rescue equipment
 
© Colin Seddon

Dog grasper capture (e.g. under a garden shed)

  rescue equipment
  • Slide dog grasper over the fox’s head and one front leg and tightened
  • Pull/lift fox into the open
  • Pin fox’s head to the ground with soft brush
  • Grasp the scruff of the neck, (the loose skin/fur at the back of the neck), loosen dog grasper
  • lifted by the scruff of the neck AND by scruffing (grasping the loose skin/fur) the rump, into container (foxes muscles relax in the same way as a cat when scruffed)

OR..

  • Container open on the ground, fox gently pulled into container
  • Container closed and grasper released and carefully withdrawn WITHOUT letting fox out!

Entanglement / entrapment capture (e.g. caught in fencing)
Ideally vet/ rehabilitator can come and assess the fox’s condition in person
If not, assess fox’s condition with vet/rehabilitator over the phone
If decision is made to capture the fox, follow instructions below:

  • Dog grasper slid over the head and one front leg and tightened
  • DO NOT CUT FREE AND IMMEDIATLY RELEASE!
  • Person two cuts fencing
  • If, and only if, after discussion with the vet/ rehabilitator, all are satisfied that there has been no serious physical damage to the fox, i.e. no fencing material has become embedded in or put pressure on the animal, then it may be released.
  • If worried/unsure, treat as for snaring (see below)continue capture (as below) and bring to vet for assessment
  • Container must be large enough to fit fox and any embedded fencing section
  • Fox pulled/lifted into open container (support rump by scruffing it as you lift)
  • Container closed, grasper released and carefully withdrawn WITHOUT letting fox out

Caught in snare

  • Dog grasper slid over the head and one front leg and tightened
  • DO NOT CUT FREE AND RELEASE! (want to prevent wound damage)
  • Person two cuts wire so animal can be rescued, along with any embedded snare section
  • Container must be large enough to fit fox and any embedded snare
  • Fox pulled/lifted into open container (support rump by scruffing it as you lift)
  • Container closed, grasper released and carefully withdrawn WITHOUT letting fox out

Unconscious casualty capture (e.g. hit by car on road)

  • If animal lying as if unconscious, poke gently with stick/brush to check for movement
  • If no movement, still handle with great care as handling could bring it back to consciousness
  • Use a brush to pin the head to the ground. Put wet towel over head
  • Scruff tightly with both hands and lift into open waiting container

OR..

  • Put towel over head. With thick gloves roll animal onto blanket, lift and tip into open waiting container

Trap capture (if mobile)

  • Choose an area that the fox frequents on a daily basis, ideally with a hidden vantage point so you can check on the trap
  • Place the trap here
  • Leave food out for the fox every day at the same time
  • Initially leave the food at a distance from the trap but over a few days bring it closer to the trap, eventually leaving it inside the trap
  • Remove uneaten food when bringing fresh food
  • Check trap at least every 6 hrs

Net capture (e.g. in an alleyway)

  • Person 1 ideally hides in fox’s anticipated escape route
  • Person 2 herds/attempts capture whilst driving fox in direction of Person 1
  • Person 1 ideally slams net to the ground over fox
  • Person 2 pins fox’s head to the ground with soft brush
  • Person 1 carefully scruffs fox through net and lifts into container
net capture
 
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

Net capture (e.g. in an alleyway)

  • Person 1 ideally hides in fox’s anticipated escape route
  • Person 2 herds/attempts capture whilst driving fox in direction of Person 1
  • Person 1 ideally slams net to the ground over fox
  • Person 2 pins fox’s head to the ground with soft brush
  • Person 1 carefully scruffs fox through net and lifts into container

Box capture (if in an enclosed area)

  • Container laid on its side on the ground
  • Herd fox into box using high rigid boards/fencing
  • throw towel over fox in container
  • Pin fox down with soft brush if trying to escape from container
  • Quickly close container as you withdraw brush
  • Remove towel only if it can be done without fox escaping

Feeding Station (medicate the fox via food)
Ideally vet/ rehabilitator can come and assess the fox’s condition in person
If not, assess fox’s condition with vet/rehabilitator over the phone
If decision is made to medicate the fox, follow instructions below:

  • Choose an area that the fox frequents on a daily basis, ideally with a hidden vantage point so you can lie in wait to watch
  • Leave food out for the fox every day at the same time
  • Remove any uneaten food when bringing fresh food
  • If the fox comes regularly for feeding, you may be able to get him to eat medicated food

Capture notes
If casualty is on a road, attempt capture from road side and herd away from road
Consider personal safety on roads: reflective jackets, warning signs etc
Crouch down when approaching – you appear less of a threat
Approach slowly, stopping if animal appears ready to flee
If you get hold of the fox, hold it FIRMLY to protect yourself and to protect it from further injury
A fox will bite without warning; there will be no snarling or growling first!

TRANSPORTATION
Sturdy carrier – wire mesh or solid container with secure lid
Dog carrier/puppy crate
If fox is unconscious, a dustbin with lid tied down securely, may suffice temporarily
Ventilation
Avoid direct sunlight – danger of overheating    
Cover container with towel, darkness will reduce stress
                 
HANDLING
NEVER lift a fox by the tail
Do not handle unnecessarily
Once captured do not try to calm animal by talking to it
Keep other domestic animals out of sight

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SHORT TERM CARE ADULT

See Supplies page for food and equipment mentioned below

Housing
Can be destructive, will bite and chew
Will climb out of cage if not fully enclosed
Line container with newspaper
Cover cage for stress reduction
Cage must be large enough for fox to stand up and turn around in
House in quiet area away from domestic animals
Suggestions:

  • Ideally collapsible dog cage or puppy crate from vet
  • Dog carrier large enough for fox to stand up and turn around in
  • Outdoor dog run
  • Horse stable or similar area
dog run fox in cage
© Chelsea Collins
© Chelsea Collins

Warmth
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can be used if fox very sick, unable to stand
Beware overheating can also kill so give enough space that the fox can move away from the heat

Feeding
Tinned dog or cat food
Bowl of drinking water if animal bright and alert

 


SHORT TERM CARE CUB


See Supplies page for food and equipment mentioned below

Step by Step:

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • Stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Provide fluids
fox cub housing
 
© Becki Lawson

Housingcub
If under 400g, especially if still blind, house in a dog cage/carrier
Use towels on top of newspaper for bedding
Keep indoors, in a quiet darkened place, away from children and domestic animals
Only handle for feeding

If older, heavier, lively and climbing, see housing in Husbandry – Adult section above

Warmth
The cub should feel warm to the touch
Warm up slowly with warm towels if very cold
If under  400g, or very sick, the cub needs to be kept warm; part of the container needs to be roughly 30˚C.
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can be used
Beware overheating can also kill so give enough space that the cub can move away from the heat
If the cub is cold it will be unwilling to feed

Toileting
VERY IMPORTANT!
Blind cubs need help urinating and defecating
Toilet at regular intervals: 2 hourly initially, moving to longer intervals as dictated by the animal
Before and after each feed gently stroke their genital and anal area with damp soft tissue / cotton wool for about 60 seconds until urine and/or faeces are produced
If the cub’s eyes are open, still toilet him until you are certain he is urinating and defecating by himself before you stop toileting altogether

FEEDING

Rehydration solution/ ‘milk’ suggestions:

  • Rehydration solution - “1 pinch of sugar and 1 pinch of salt in 1 cup of warm water”
  • Canine milk replacement e.g. Esbilac/Lactol
  • Goats’ milk
esbilac

ALL feeds should be lukewarm
(24hrs of rehydration solution feeds is fine if milk replacement difficult to obtain)
Only handle for feeding (for frequency see below)

DANGERAspiration Pneumonia – inhaling fluid into the lungs
If a bubble of liquid appears at the nose or the cub starts sneezing or shaking its head, stop feeding immediately and tilt the head down allow any fluid to drain out. Dab with tissue, take a break, and then start again very slowly

Preventative measures:

  • Use rehydration solution for the first few feeds while you and the cub get used to feeding
  • Hold the cub vertically and leaning slightly forward or lying on its belly, whilst feeding
  • Always feed patiently, slowly and gently
  • Try to get the cub to lick/suck the fluids slowly rather than guzzling
Feeding Fox Cub
 
© National Fox Welfare Society

Take to vet for antibiotics and other respiratory drugs if cub inhales fluids and starts coughing for any extended period of time, breathing heavily or breathing with mouth open

Introducing ‘milk’
1st feed – rehydration solution
2nd feed – rehydration solution
3rd feed – ¾ rehydration solution, ¼ milk (as above)
4th feed – ½ rehydration solution, ½ milk
5th feed – ¼ rehydration solution, ¾ milk
6th feed – milk

Bottles/equipment

  • Esbilac/Lactol bottle
  • syringe could be tried but be aware of aspiration pneumonia (mentioned above) and feed very slowly watching to check that the cub swallows as you feed
  • ear/medicine dropper
  • human baby bottle with newborn size teat

Quantity &Frequency  (ROUGH guide)


Weight

Approximate age

Quantity per feed

Frequency

200 g

2 weeks

10ml

7 feeds per day

600 g

4 weeks

60ml

4 feeds per day

1000 g

6 weeks

120ml

3 feeds per day

Theoretically cubs may be fed up to 35-40% of body weight per day, depending on appetite
Table above is ROUGH guide, each individual is different
Never feed an animal so much fluid that its tummy becomes hard and distended

Frequency
If still blind, feed 2-3 hourly through the day, and 4hourly during the night
If older and lively feed every 4hrs during the day, last feed 10pm, first feed 5 or 6am
If they are unwilling to wake up and feed, extend the gap between feeds by ½ hour

Winding
After feeding, take a few minutes to rub the cub’s back and encourage winding

Hygiene
Keep feeding utensils in a deep bowl of sterilising solution e.g. Milton
Use clean feeding utensils for each feed
After use, dismantle feeding equipment and clean thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse, then replace in the sterilising bowl

Rinse utensils before each feed

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LONGER TERM CARE INFO FOR REHABILITATORS

Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organisation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance
HUSBANDRY ADULT
HUSBANDRY CUB
RELEASE
LEGISLATION



Read GENERAL PUBLIC section first. Extra information for long term husbandry below


HUSBANDRY ADULT

Housing
Initially, veterinary shor-line kennels with divider, if in intensive care
Warm, quiet and dimly lit area

Destructive animals, escapologists!
Strong and can dig
Housing suggestions:

  • Ideally outdoor dog run with shelter e.g. dog kennel/ dustbin, placed horizontally
  • Solid sides e.g. brick, metal, thick wooden sheets, or vertical metal bars that can’t be chewed or squeezed through, to a height of 1metre then weld mesh fencing above that to head height. Concrete or slab base
  • Solid floor, solid sides to at least 1.8m e.g. horse stable
  • Enclosure with perimeter fence of chain-link or weld mesh fencing, 2m high with inwards overhang around the top. Fence buried at least 0.3m and continuing inside enclosure for at least 1m, or paving slab/concrete floor

Hut/shelter with raised platform
Straw or hay for bedding, though bedding not essential
Heavy water and food bowl
Sufficient area to exercise
Big leafy branches, thick logs, and dog toys for hiding in, chewing, enrichment and stress reduction
Locate in quiet area away from domestic animals

 

Fox in Cage Fox Housing Fox Housing
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue © Linda Sweeney
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

Feeding
Dog or cat food, supplement with dead rabbits, chicks, mice
Roughly 400g of food/day
Heavy shallow bowl of drinking water (supervised if head trauma)

 


HUSBANDRY CUB

Hand-rearing should not be undertaken unless:

  • IT CAN QUICKLY BE PLACED WITH OTHER CUBS IN A SOCIAL GROUP FOR RELEASE

(Email <info@irishwildlifematters.ie> if you acquire an orphan, you will be put in touch with other orphan carers)

  • The cub will be kept as wild as possible
  • Suitable accommodation facilities will be provided
  • It is understood that it will require a commitment of about six months
  • It is understood that rearing and successful release of a badger requires considerable expertise and specialised pre-release accommodation

Extra info for long term husbandry:

Weight
Birth weight approx. 50-120g/4 oz
Four weeks: approx 600g / 1.25 lb
Six weeks: approx 1kg /2.25 lb

Daily weight gain should be roughly 50g between 4 – 10wks of age
Weigh same time each day
Weight loss or static weight is an early indicator of underlying problems

Feeding Fox Cub
 
© Linda Sweeney

Housing
At 6 weeks of age cub needs to be moved to secure outdoor enclosure until ready for release at about 6mths of age. See Husbandry Adult Housing section above

Feeding
Rehydration solution – Lectade or equivalent, initially
Canine milk replacement e.g. Esbilac – no additional vitamins needed
OR
Goat’s milk – with Abidec multivitamins added once daily
35-40% of body weight per day
Feeding Equipment
 
© Chelsea Collins
Initially use small syringe, then puppy feeding bottles
As cub grows, a small baby bottle can be used
A cross-ways cut in the teat will slow down the milk output

Weaning
Wean when 4-6wks or when eyes are open, cub able to walk around, and teeth have come through
Encourage to drink milk (esbilac) and or water from bowl, once cub learns, always leave available
Stop bottle feeds as soon as cub drinks from bowl
Gradually introduce soft or hard puppy food and chopped up dead chicks/mice
After 5 weeks puppy food can be replaced with adult dog food
Once eating solids stop all milk feeds. Use dog or cat food, supplement with dead rabbits, chicks, mice and fresh road-kill

Winding
Gripe water if becomes a problem

Imprinting
Easily done, potentially prevent release
Always rear more than one of a species together (not doing so will produce abnormal and dangerous behaviour)


KEEP HUMAN CONTACT TO ABSOLUTE MINIMUM

Parasites
Prophylactic worming with fenbendazole, 3 and 6 weeks after weaning

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RELEASE

Always seek advice from specialist organisations with knowledge of suitable release sites/habitat

Careful assessment and appropriate health checks should be carried out prior to release, as to the risks of released animals introducing new diseases into the wild population/environment

Release criteria/considerations
Need to be wild – wary/scared of humans, domestic animals and any other natural predators
ONLY if rescued as adults and ONLY if in captivity for short period of time, and ONLY if to be released where originally found
Must be physically fit, mentally sound, stable body weight for over 7 days
Can’t be released if underweight, unable to recognise/eat normal diet etc
Must be of an appropriate weight for the age, sex, and time of year for the species
Do not release in winter unless it has sufficient body weight to cope with the cold
Ideally return to original location unless dangerous or unsuitable
Release away from roads, species specific predators, areas where they could cause damage
Consider natural history of the animal and the location of local wild groups of these animals
Release during a period of favourable weather
Ideally identify animal in some way e.g. microchip/tag, for post release monitoring/identification

Preferred habitat
Varied habitat, mainly wooded areas, also farmland and urban areas
Scavenger. Mainly eats young rabbits, rats, mice, young birds and their eggs, insects and fruit

 

HARD RELEASE (direct release)
Adults

Hard release
The animal is simply allowed to exit a transport container with no further care or feed provision

Hard release candidates
Hard release technique only suitable if animal rescued as an adult and only if in captivity for short period of time, and only if to be released where originally found
 
Release timing
Preferably release as soon as possible for the maximum chance of survival

Species specific considerations
Do not release near local hunt activity, areas with snares or shooting, or away from natural habitat
A fox’s territory can be taken over in a matter of days. Release of an adult fox to the same location after a long period of captivity can be dangerous. Consider soft release in another location

Technique
Ideally return to exact location animal was rescued. Open carrying cage and let animal leave in its own time
Release at dusk and leave

SOFT RELEASE (gentle or gradual release)
Cubs (sometimes adults)

Soft release technique
Soft release aims to slowly reintroduce the animal to the wild while still in a comfort zone e.g. cage it was reared in, and allow the animal to leave the cage once confident and independent
It involves continuing to care for animals at the release site, and aims to compensate for difficulties of newly released animals finding food and shelter in a new environment

Soft release candidates
Essential release method for hand reared animals
If more than one young animal in care, if practicable, try to form a release group
Release group - try to have mixed genders, appropriately matched age group
Also suitable for adults that have been in care for a long period of time, or animals that cannot be released back to where they were found and so have to establish a new territory

Release timing
Preferably release during fox’s natural dispersal time e.g. summer/ autumn
 
Species specific considerations
Need to be approx 6 months of age

Technique
Temporary cage placed in release location
Cage fully enclosed and containing artificial den, natural cover, food and water
Animal fed only natural foods it will come across in the wild
Cage opened and left in-situ for animal to come and go until it feels confident enough not to return
Food provided, decreasing in quantity, until the animal no longer returns
Contain in release cage for 1-2 weeks before opening the door
Soft release may take weeks - months

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LEGISLATION

“The Minister may grant a licence to a person to have in possession, for a reasonable period of time —

  • an injured or disabled protected wild animal, or
  • one or more than one dependant young of a protected wild animal which is orphaned, with the intention of tending and later releasing such animal or young back into the wild when and only when such animal or young, as the case may be, is no longer injured, disabled or dependant, or
  • to retain possession of a protected wild animal, that for reasons of disability or for other reasons deemed reasonable by the Minister, would, if released, be unlikely to survive unaided in the wild.”

Let us not waste time complaining about the excessive bureaucratic legislation covering wildlife today. The intent was to provide protection for wildlife and the data is valuable.

If we don’t want to be legislated upon, or don’t like current legislation, we must offer legislative solutions. Apply for your licences but also email  your ideas for a more practicable solution for ‘policing wildlife rehabilitation’ in Ireland, to info@irishwildlifematters.ie

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has
.”  (Margaret Mead)

 

FOX

FOX CLASSIFIED AS A PEST SPECIES SO NO LICENCE REQUIRED

Status
Irish Red Data book - least concern
Legal status - none

Exemptions
Classified as a pest species and may be hunted all year round

Safeguards
Wildlife Order N.I – no hunting on Sundays or on Christmas Day
May not be killed or taken by certain methods
Shooting of wildlife for pleasure or sport is not permitted in National Parks or Nature Reserves owned by the State

Rescue and Rehabilitation
No licence required

Release
No licence so no legislation

Notes
Report suspicious activities or equipment to the NPWS Conservation Ranger (see CONTACTS page)

 

This legislation section is not intended to cover all aspect of legislation associated with this particular wildlife species, in all instances, the current legislation and appropriate statutory bodies should be consulted

 

VETERINARY SECTION - COMMON CONDITIONS

THIS SECTION IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR VETERINARY SURGEONS

DISEASES
TRAUMA
PARASITES
OTHER
EUTHANASIA



DISEASES

  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH) (Fox Distemper)

Clinical Signs – fever, appetite loss, congested sinuses, bloody diarrhoea
Diagnosis - blood sample
Treatment - fluids then antibiotics and B vitamins
Comments - virus shed in urine faeces and saliva, viable up to 6mths

Jaundice – usually from internal bleeding, occasionally from ICH or Leptospirosis

  • Leptospirosis  (Weil’s disease)

Clinical Signs – anorexia, weakness, vomiting
Diagnosis - blood test
Treatment - barrier nursing and antibiotics
Comments - NB dangerous zoonoses (wear mask apron gloves)

 


TRAUMA

  • Road Traffic Accident

Clinical Signs - commonly fractures, sometimes ruptured diaphragms, livers or spleens
Diagnosis – examination and radiographs
Treatment - fractures - legs, pelvis or spine, treatment as per dog

Fox Broken leg
 
© Chelsea Collins
Leg fracture - external fixation preferred as fox will remove bandages, splints and buster collars
Pelvic fracture – cage rest, spay female
Temporary splint and pain relief, surgery once stabilised
Comments – euthanize if either of the front legs needs amputation. Remove metalwork before release

  • Bite wounds

Clinical Signs – heat, swelling, pain, puncture wound or laceration, abscess
Diagnosis – clinical signs or culture
Treatment - drain and treat as open abscess. Fluids as for shock. Broad spectrum antibiotic e.g. enrofloxacin. Consider corticosteroids, e.g. methylprednisolone for endotoxaemia if necessary
Fresh open clean wounds - clip, clean, suture or staple as for any other wound suture repair
Comments - likely to be infected, possibly septicaemic

 

  • Snare injuries

Clinical Signs – injury to the limb, chipped teeth from chewing at it, underlying tissue damage
Diagnosis – ligature marks, snare attached, history
Treatment –remove snare under GA. Analgesics and antibiotics. Aggressive fluid therapy
Comments – keep for at least 7 days to monitor for pressure necrosis or self mutilation

  • Eye Conditions

Clinical Signs – swelling, opacity, bleeding, watering, closed, foreign body, trauma
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment - lubricate several times/day e.g. chloramphenical eye ointment/ hypromellose drops or daily with lacri-lube
Comments - ONLY use ointments containing steroids if under veterinary instruction

  • Prolapse

Clinical signs - rectal prolapse; red mass protruding from anus
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment - wash in warm saline, push back in place, temporary sutures may be necessary before surgery if leaving for 24hrs
Comments – diagnose and treat underlying problem if not obvious

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PARASITES

Routine treatment with ivermectin or doramectin recommended (doses as for mange treatment)
DO NOT USE FLEA SPRAY, pyrethrum powder will suffice

  • Sarcoptic Mange – Sarcoptes scabiei parasite
Clinical Signs – intense itching, hair loss, sweet ‘mangy’ smell from secondary bacterial infection, raised red lesions, listless, emaciated, scaly or greasy skin Diagnosis – clinical signs, deep skin scrapings, biopsy
Treatment - aggressive fluid therapy for few days for stabilisation, then ivermectin or doramectin. Consider laurabolin – anabolic steroids
Mange Fox
 
© National Fox Welfare Society

Comments – very common problem, easily treated, will lead to death if untreated. NB zoonoses, use mask, apron, and gloves. Can occasionally be treated in the wild if fox will eat medicated food

  • Myiasis - maggot infestation

Clinical signs – visual infestation in open wounds or orifices
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment –analgesics. Flush with water/ dilute triclosan, manually remove, apply dermisol. Use clippers for egg removal, or brush off. Inject with ivermectin. Only clean thoroughly once stabilised
Comments – always check old wounds, especially in warm weather

  • Ringworm – fungal infection Trichophyton equi

Clinical Signs – patchy hair loss, often in a circular pattern, red discharging or scaly lesions
Diagnosis – fluorescence under ‘Woods lamp’, skin scraping
Treatment – weekly baths of enilconazole 10% and griseofulvin
Comments – not all ringworm fluoresce. Mainly affects young foxes, transmitted by direct contact, NB zoonoses, use mask, apron, gloves

  • Mites, fleas, ticks, lice

Clinical Signs – visual identification
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment – as per dog
Comments – none appear to be exclusive to the fox

  • Roundworm – Toxacaris canis

Clinical Signs – swollen abdomen, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, thin
Diagnosis – faecal sample, flotation
Treatment - fenbendazole
Comments – mainly cubs. Treat hookworm similarly

  • HeartwormAngiostrongylus vasorum

Clinical Signs – coughing, anorexia, difficulty breathing
Diagnosis – blood sample
Treatment - levamisole
Comments – mainly found post mortem

  • Tapeworm – Taenia serialis

Clinical Signs – no significant signs
Diagnosis – faecal sample
Treatment - praziquantel
Comments – often high burdens

 


OTHER

  • Poisoning - Metaldehyde

Clinical Signs - hypersensitivity, side to side eye movement, panting, salivating, ataxia, vomiting
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment - Hartmanns IV fluids, flush stomach with milk or sodium bicarbonate. A dose of activated charcoal with a saline purgative
Comments - illegal, report if suspicious. Mainly in hedgehogs via slugs/snails

  • Poisoning - Warfarin

Clinical Signs - few symptoms, epistaxis
Diagnosis - clinical signs
Treatment - vit K, only crystalloid fluids, avoid corticosteroids, sulphonamide drugs, aminophylline and frusemide
Comments - Illegal, report if suspicious. Aimed at foxes and squirrels

  • Hydrocephalus

Clinical Signs – stunted, unable to feed, tremors, seizures, domed forehead
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment - none
Comments - mainly cubs. Euthanasia recommended

  • Bacterial pneumonia

Clinical Signs – difficulty breathing, fast shallow breaths
Diagnosis – culture, radiographs
Treatment – antibiotics determined by culture, lasix
Comments - adults

  • Drowning / Burning
Clinical Signs - difficulty breathing, burn marks
Diagnosis – clinical signs, history
Treatment - oxygen, enfofloxacin +/- millophyline. Lasix for drowning only
Comments - uncommon
  • Dental disease
Clinical Signs – inflamed, bleeding gums, mouth pain, emaciation, bad breath, drooling
Diagnosis - clinical signs
Treatment - symptomatic
Comments - with all animals, mouth should routinely be checked
Fox with Burnt Nose
 
© Chelsea Collins

 


EUTHANASIA

Candidates

  • No quality of life when recovered
  • Amputation of FRONT leg necessary
  • Hydrocephalus
  • If all canine teeth need removing

Drug

  • Pentobarbital sodium

Technique

  • IV into cephalic, saphenous or jugular vein

General anaesthetic then intracardiac injection

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VETERINARY SECTION

THIS SECTION IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR VETERINARY SURGEONS

VETERINARY DRUGS & DOSAGES TABLE

ANATOMY
INJECTION SITES
NORMAL PARAMETERS
HANDLING FOR EXAMINATION
ADMISSION PROCEDURES
ANAESTHESIA



ANATOMY

Fox Anatomy


INJECTION SITES

SC

between shoulder blades

IM

quadriceps or lumbar

IO

tibial crest or trochanteric fossa

IP

posterior to umbilicus (with animal in dorsal recumbency)

IV

cephalic, saphenous or jugular (if very sick or anaesthetised) Also for blood samples

PO

in food

 


NORMAL PARAMETERS

Temperature (°C)

38.0-39

Pulse rate (beats per minute)

75-185

Respiratory rate  (breaths per minute)

11-20

 


HANDLING FOR EXAMINATION

Fox very similar to aggressive or feral cat
Ideally observe discreetly before examination – wildlife hide injuries
Slip broom into cage to pin head
Scruff and remove from container
Muzzle (beware of the danger of blood or vomit in the mouth)
Sedation only needed for very aggressive or fitting fox - diazepam
If sedation necessary, inject through the container if mesh, otherwise tip fox into crush cage to inject
Try not to change grip when handling – will attempt to flee, avoid eye contact

 

Scruffing Fox Restraining Fox
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue


ADMISSION PROCEDURES

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • If baby fox; stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Fluids
  • Drugs

RTA casualties will often be suffering volume related shock, treat as below

TREATMENT FOR SHOCK

  • Warmth (stop animal loosing heat, warm slowly)
  • IV fluids – Hartmann’s or Haemaccel (keep muzzle on to prevent chewing IV line)
  • Oxygen as required
  • Analgesia (if head trauma do not use buprenorphine , finadyne or carprofen)

Steroids (ONLY if CNS trauma e.g. ‘Solu medrone V’ or dexamethasone)
Antibiotics if appropriate, IV
After treatment for shock, attend to conditions that are life threatening or could worsen over 24hrs

Assess every few hours. As soon as stable, sedate, examine thoroughly, and decide on a treatment plan or euthanise as appropriate

 


ANAESTHESIA

Isoflurane (commonly used and very effective)
Induction important – quiet, dark, adequate time
Warmth – hot water bottle, heat pads, hot gloves, bubble wrap
Medetomidine + butorphanol + ketamine combination preferred

Fox Anaesthetic
 
© Becki Lawson

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