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Eärendil

Earendil was found looking really scraggly and while most would've assumed mange by assumed appearance he had nothing of the sort. He did however, have some pretty bad blood results indicating anaemia, low red blood cell count, close to transfusion level hematocrit levels, infection and what looked under microscope to suggest mycoplasma. That being said he was very bright and did not indicate any hint of decline other than a slightly tatty appearance. His tail was virtually bald within 24 hours because he kept chewing at it until it was literally red raw and became stuck in an itch scratch cycle.. My gosh he would not leave that thing alone at first. I wondered if he had any nerve damage as this is a common indication of behaviour but radiography seemed fine. His eyesight was notably affected too as he has an obvious glaze over his retinas and I named him Earendil because any light seemed to capture in his eyes and light them up light moon or star light.


Earendil's story

You can find original posts about Earendil on the instagram page. His blood results were less than ideal. The full details are below, but essentially he made a full recovery albeit his eyesight is impaired which is the reason for him staying, sometimes he walks straight into his kennel door for example. In a safe environment sight impaired foxes do just fine. He is very playful and gets extremely excited with dog toys, particularly bouncy balls but he destroys then in minutes so he is not allowed them unsupervised.


Now the detailed bit part for anyone interested.


Indications:

  • Gnawing at tail until red raw.

  • Seemingly impaired vision with notable clouding.

  • Black tar-like faeces which smelled of garage initially for about 72 hours post-capture.

Biochemistry bloods:

  • Low Albumin

  • Increased Bilirubin suggesting a possible liver malfunction (hepatic issues can be common in urban wild foxes, I am see this a lot where I am at least).

  • Total Protein increased

  • Globulin levels increased

Haematology:

  • Low Red Blood Cell counts

  • Low Hemoglobin

  • Very low (close to blood transfusion) level of Hematocrit (18.53%, blood transfusion was discussed)

  • Low MCV, MCH and MCHC

  • Elevated RDW all pointing to iron deficiency and anaemia.

  • Low platelet count was also present.

On a microscopy blood smear there appeared to be the possibility of mycoplasma.


The vet on that day (a new graduate) strongly suggested euthanasia. This is where fox behaviour and body language experience comes into its own. Clinical experience is vital, however it must be used in conjunction with fox specific behaviour as foxes can never be assumed to be anything like that of companion animals and I've known really good and experienced vets to get it wrong with foxes based on simply not understanding fox specific behaviour. That is not me saying I know better than vets because that's obviously not the case, but it means without a proper experienced fox person present, the wrong decision could be made for the fox who is simply reacting like a fox, not a dog or cat and it highlights how important it is for vets and rehabbers to work together and understand and appreciate each other's knowledge and experience.

Treatment:


  • For the possible mycoplasma he was placed on specific antibiotic.

  • For the dehydration and in general I also administered fluids (Aqupharm 11 Hartmann's solution) sub cutaneously.

  • For the anaemia, it seemed to point more toward severe malnourishment on the results so he was given decent nutrition, rehydration support and his vitals and behaviour monitored regularly.

  • For the low platelets the vet prescribed Vitamin K1 (phytomenadione). Vitamin K1 is also naturally in most leafy greens naturally and used for coagulating the blood. It is also used in the event of ingesting anticoagulant rodenticide. Giving it orally with high fat content food increases its absorption 4-5 fold so it was given initially with Hill's a/d.

  • For the tail, he was watched and distracted if he started at it but was also prescribed gabapentin. The problem with gabapentin in foxes is it seems to take a couple of weeks to take effect so within that time they continue to self mutilate and in cases of nerve damage that can be the vital time when you do not want them self mutilating. He remained bright and normal behaviour the entire time.

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