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she looks like a cub, but she’s elderly, clumsy and adorable. She is a cancer survivor.

Winter the fox and hello kitty cushion

Winter's story

The elderly lady with the face of a cub who follows me around.

Originally caught and taken in by a kind member of the public who wanted to care for her because she was found unable to walk. After a week the lady contacted me and I explained how she needed specialist care. She transported to me in a dog crate and upon initial examination in her car I found Winter had a serious (infected, weeping) bite wound hidden in her fur over her spine with puncture wounds in her abdomen (a common way for foxes to attack others during play or real fights). She was also missing half of her tail, soft tissue mostly healed but always a risk of nerve damage related issues. You can see form the video how dehydrated she was too from the skin turgor, (I had to return it to its position myself).

Her limp is not obvious unless you observe her gait carefully, although sometimes she trips over herself. You can see from the xrays, the femur is healed but deformed where she had no help during the health process in the wild, she’s lucky to have survived this long but obviously she was declining at the stage she was found. It looks like the bone attempted to heal a few different ways, all severely misaligned and it’s finished in that state. How it even healed is beyond me. If you’re a radiographer let me know your thoughts.

I did however, suspect cancer. I cannot explain why I thought cancer but I seem to have a way of recognising it in foxes. It’s in their behaviour, their eyes and the look on their face. The last patient I dealt with had the exact same behaviour and look.

She had a small pea-sized growth on her side. The lovely Dr Charlotte removed it and sent it to IDEXX to examine, it did indeed come back as “an apocrine carcinoma, a malignant tumour of the apocrine sweat gland”. “Prognosis for Winter is considered to be favourable to good and surgical excision in all likelihood be completely curative”. The tumour site has fully healed at the time of writing this weeks after rescue.

More on Winter in Stories and future posts.

She follows me around and looks up at me with such an innocent look in a way that makes me melt.

She has my whole heart.


  • Deformed Left Femur from an old break that healed badly in the wild

  • Malignant apocrine carcinoma (now removed)

  • broken caudal vertebrae (tail, healed, now has half a tail).


  • Ipakitine twice daily (chitosan, calcium carbonate)

  • Denamarin/Hepatosyl once a day (silybin extract [milk thistle] 40mg, S-Adrenosylmethionine 100mg)


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become a sponsor?

All of the residents can be sponsored, you can go to the sponsor page to find out more. Sponsoring a fox helps towards their general daily care. Some foxes need more than others depending on their disability, injury, post-surgery requirements or condition. To find out more, go here.


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