There is a strong link between hunting and fox diseases/health conditions. Hunted foxes become stressed thus lowering their immune system and ability to feed themselves resulting in weakened ill foxes susceptible to diseases.
Sarcoptic mange : is a very common disease of mammals, being found in both wild and domestic animals. Sarcoptic mange is caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites will burrow through the skin causing intense itching and irritation.
The mites are microscopic and can’t be seen by the naked eye. Female Sarcoptes mites burrow under the skin and leave a trail of eggs behind. This burrowing creates an inflammatory response in the skin similar to an allergic reaction. The motion of the mite in and on the skin is extremely itchy, as is the hatching of the eggs. This creates further allergic reaction and more itching, loss of sleep and reduced immune response. Loss of fur, scaly skin and a general unthrifty appearance is characteristic of a Sarcoptic mange infestation. The condition worsens as a skin infection sets in. The foxes immune system is even more compromised and internal parasites (tape, hook and round worms) begin to take over and absorb any nutrients that fox may find. Mangy foxes are usually starving in the late stages and eventually organ failure begins.
Mange can also be accompanied by other conditions i.e Conjunctivitis.
Treatment : There are a few treatments available for mange.
Ivermectin is a drug most often used to treat worms in horses and farm animals. Treatment should be given according to weight of fox i.e a fox weighing 10 lbs, should be given 0.2 ml for each dose.
The catch is this: it kills the mites living on the skin but doesn’t kill the eggs . These eggs will hatch and re-infect the fox, so it has to be administered many times to kill the mange mites that hatch after treatment.
It is recommended giving them the Ivermectin every 5-7 days for the first three weeks. After the first three weeks, you can dose them every ten days. Be sure to treat them for at least 4-5 weeks. A daily feeding station can be set up to facilitate the administration of tasty treats laced with ivermectin. Beef meatballs with no spices work great and when they are warmed up, are easy to inject the medication into.
Warning Note : Don’t use the pour-on for livestock, as it would be toxic given orally. Ensure no other animals have access to the treated food.
Other treatments : A single dose of Advocate (5 -10k) or two injections of Ivomec or Panomec (.125ml) given over a two week period. Both treatments are best applied in conjunction with a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Baytril, Synulox or Noroclav to combat skin infection.
Warming Note : These treatments may be dangerous to pets and other species (and to suckling fox cubs, so this is risky to provide during the fox breeding season – between mid-February and early April).
For advance stage of mange, veterinary treatment should be sought.
Any questions contact : National Fox Welfare Society
135 Higham Road, Rushden, Northants NN10 6DS
Phone: 01933 411996
Emergency: 07778 183954
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