By Jennifer Howard
Some of you may remember the years 2019 and 2020 when there was a high incidence of mange in foxes. During that time, nearly 30 foxes were admitted; most years maybe one or two would come in. This year has been a very taxing year on the Centre with many injured and orphaned animals admitted with broken bones, and yes, mange.
Unlike 2019 and 2020 when the foxes went into the traps, this year they were not so willing. Have they been caught before? Perhaps, but only one as far as we know was readmitted.
This year, there was one fox in particular whose mange was very severe. He just ran and ran in search of food and despite the most amazing efforts by the community to help he never went near the traps. A lot of hard work, love and care went into getting him.
When we finally captured the fox, after two months of trying, the mange was so severe that he didn’t make it. He was too far along. He fought every minute to survive, it was so sad.
Procyon is not a rescue group; we depend on you to capture the animal, but we do provide you with instructions. And so many of you have succeeded. Thank you for your love and care for our wildlife in need.
Mange is a horrible tiny mite that borrows under the skin of the animal, laying eggs. When the eggs hatch, the cycle continues. The mites cause itching and biting; the animal’s hair falls out, or is pulled out, causing sores and great discomfort. It’s horrible and they suffer.
As the disease progresses, they can no longer hunt successfully because their eyes get crusted over. If they go too long before treatment, their organs start to shut down and they will die.
When animals with mange are treated in time, we put them on a slow feed protocol of five tiny protein meals a day, administer antibiotics, hydrate them, and provide mange treatments. We do our best to save them. But sometimes it’s just too late. But they no longer suffer, they are at peace.
What can you do? Don’t feed wildlife, feeding ground animals attracts far more other animals than you might expect. Everything roams at night. A sick animal joins in at the buffet, spreading sickness.
Do not use rat poisoning to control rodents, as it invariably travels up the food chain, weakening the immune system of apex predators like fox and coyotes, causing them to get sick easier and if enough has been ingested they will die. Death by poison is very slow and horrible. Not a happy or humane ending. It’s cruel. Let the predators do their job, that is what they are here for and they are very good at it. They are the best pest control, and this is the job that nature designed for them. Keep them healthy and let them hunt.
If you see a sick fox with mange, please call us at 905-729-0033. Don’t wait or try getting them yourself, by then when you call, it could be too late. Let’s work together to save lives in need.