Bare with us…this is a long post, but it goes into detail about a current case we are treating that is very interesting and filled with twists and turns!  Back on September 21st an adult male Red Fox was admitted to The Wildlife In Need Center suffering from Mange. A parasite naturally found in the environment that can affect the skin condition of wild mammals. Mange mites get underneath the skin and cause itching, irritation, and fur loss. It is common that we begin to see mange patients as we head into fall and winter since they can become more easily debilitated with cold weather after suffering fur loss. Mange can be treated if caught early enough since another symptom can be emaciation (very underweight). This is what we usually have to focus on when starting their treatment so they can stay strong during the rehab process. Unfortunately, near the end of his mange treatment we noticed that one of his back toes was starting to swell and overnight one night it quickly became 3 times larger than a normal digit. The skin was stretched so much that it opened. We were unsure what had happened and thought that maybe he hurt it trying to get out of the smaller transfer caging he was still in. There was enough damage to the toe it needed to be amputated. We decided to move forward with surgery to amputate the toe, keeping our fingers crossed that a fox would not continue to self-mutilate the foot post-surgery…most wild species don’t do well with the e-collars people may use on their pets post-surgery to insure that sutures stay in place. The surgery went well and we sent it in for testing, just in case there was something else going on. For the most part the tissue came back negative. About two weeks post-surgery the incision looked great, however, we had started to notice more open wounds on the opposite back leg and near his hips. We switch antibiotics, but continued to see more wounds and swelling on this poor fox. We finally decided to send in more tissue for a culture sample to see potentially exactly what we were working against. We couldn’t believe it when we got the results: it was Staphylococcus intermedius or MRSI (the animal version of MRSA). This pathogen is normally found on the skin and nasal cavities but is not commonly diagnosed in wild animals. This is the first confirmed case WINC has diagnosed. The other unfortunate thing is this is a very strong and resistant infection – meaning potential treatment it would be difficult and was not guaranteed to work. After lengthy discussions with our vet and animal care staff we decided to move forward with attempting to treat the fox. This meant rearranging our whole animal care schedule for two weeks to allow proper dosing of his medication and following strict quarantine for the safety of our staff and other patients. We are happy to report that the fox responded to the treatment/medication and all his swelling, infections and open wounds healed after two full weeks of treatment! We were able to move him outside to a larger outdoor enclosure and have continued to monitor him closely. His case was very unusual, especially since he was admitted initially as a mange patient (which also makes sense that he was more susceptible to this pathogen due to already having a mange infection). His unexpected surgery, medication, testing and treatments have put us over our vet budget and we would appreciate some extra help covering his cost for care. If you would like to help with our Fund-A-Fox fundraiser please follow this link: