I have decided to pass on this experience. It happened years ago. I have held back from mentioning it on PoC because it is a fox story and not a cat story! But as Jo has written about an orca today, I feel free to write about a fox.
I love foxes. It is strange but foxes are hated and loved like cats. There are many foxes in London, UK. I believe that they are persecuted by some, even systematically shot by hired gunmen at night but at the same time assisted by many others including myself. It is a hidden battle much like that which surrounds the feral cat in America.
Mange kills a high percentage urban foxes. At one time, almost, all the foxes I saw suffered from sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei). It is very distressing for a fox as the parasitic mite burrows under the fox’s skin. Ultimately it kills the fox but while doing so it is horribly irritating and distressing for the fox and upsetting for fox lovers like me. The reason why this parasite often kills foxes is because the fox loses his fur and dies of exposure after becoming ill. The fox mutilates himself by biting the infected areas to try and ease the irritation.
The first signs of mange is when the fox’s tail losses it brush-like characteristics.
Anyway, I fed this fox by putting out food and eventually, hand-fed her (I think the fox was female) and then she developed mange so I decided to cure her because I was emotionally attached.
I sourced a ‘medicine’, in fact a homeopathic treatment, from Derbyfoxes.org called: Arsenicum Alb & Sulphur 40ml.
The fox would come to the door leading to the garden where I poured some of the liquid treatment onto a piece of chicken. She took the chicken in her mouth from my hand. She was incredibly gentle when she did this. So tender. I did this for weeks and at one time she came into the flat and looked around.
One sunny day, she was there again in the garden, fearless. I was frightened for her. She rolled over on the grass in delight at how she felt: free of the irritation. She luxuriated in the sun and was gone. Perhaps she wanted to tell me she was cured and to thank me. I didn’t see her again. I feel that she was shot by some fox hater. I don’t know.
My work had been done. I was pleased. I was happy to have spared one fox the agony of this disease. I am sad writing this and I am not sure why. Perhaps I miss her.
P.S. At one time my cat companion at the time, Charlie, had a bit of a bust up with my beloved fox as this video shows. The cat flap intervened:
P.P.S. Urban foxes often injure their legs and feet. It can lead to death because of an inability to seek food adequately. The pictures taken here were captured before she got mange.