With foxes living in closer quarters in urban areas, mange is unfortunately a common issue. Sarcoptic mange is caused by a mite which burrows into the skin causing intense itching. The fox then scratches causing fur loss, broken skin and then secondary infections. Left untreated, this can become fatal. We are sometimes contacted by householders concerned that a fox with mange might 'infect' their dog. This is unlikely (the fox and dog would need either direct contact or to lay in the same place for some time) but the best solution to this concern is to treat the fox.

Mild mange

Foxes with mild mange will have only lost fur on the tail and hip area, will have little or no 'crustiness' of the skin, no open wounds, and the eyes will be bright and clear. 

For decades, wildlife rescue organisations have been providing a remedy which can be added to the food of foxes with mange. This has a certain degree of controversy attached as the remedy is homeopathic. Many people doubt the efficacy of homeopathy but, without getting into a wider discussion about homeopathy as a whole, all we can say is that we have seen this remedy work for literally hundreds of foxes. Some might suggest that the remedy itself does nothing but the extra food provided enables the fox to recover - maybe. But as long as the fox recovers, that's all that really matters. 

The remedy has the advantage that it is safe for all animals and cannot be overdosed. Further information and sources of the remedy can be found on the following sites

The Fox Project 

Pet Perfection

Wildlife Aid 

The National Fox Welfare Society 

Some organisations suggest treating the fox on-site with a veterinary medication. The difficulties here are

 - the medication is only available from a veterinarian

 - the target fox must consume the entire dose on a strict schedule

 - if the fox is pregnant or nursing, the babies could be harmed by the treatment

 - if the medication is consumed by pets or other wildlife, they could be killed

Moderate or Severe Mange

If the fur loss extends beyond the hindquarters, the skin is crusty or broken, or the eye lids swollen or oozing, the on-site treatment will likely not suffice. In this case, the fox will need to be caught with a cage trap and admitted into a wildlife rescue for treatment. This is obviously a stressful experience and can lead to the death of cubs if it's a nursing female so should be a last resort.

You can find rescues in your area by putting your location into the search facility at directory.helpwildlife.co.uk. If you are unsure whether to intervene or you have difficulty finding a rescue who can help, you can contact us via helpwildlife.co.uk/helpdesk and our volunteers will give you advice and support.