Fox kit!

Apr. 4th, 2011 11:28 pm
eohartman: (Default)
[personal profile] eohartman
On Friday, I got a call about an abandoned red fox kit. When I picked her up, I was about 80% sure that she wasn't going to make it - she was severely dehydrated and emaciated, to the point where you could feel every bone in her body. Animals that show anything above 15% dehydration are most likely going to die.

But, I had to try. I couldn't give up on her, especially when she fought so hard to live after she lost her parents. Over the course of the next 48 hours, I've pumped 100 ccs of lactated ringers solution into her body, tube-fed her some raccoon milk (high protein, high fat) and kept her as warm and comfortable as possible. On Friday and Saturday, she was very limp and lethargic. But I kept giving her subq fluids and forced her to eat 5 ccs of milk every couple of hours (not a lot, because I didn't want to overload her system). This morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. to the sounds of the little fox crying. I went in the kitchen expecting to see her in pain or dying. To my delight, she was sitting up, fully alert, and crying because she was lonely. It was the best reason to wake up - an animal whom you thought had no chance is physically feeling better!

We're not out of the woods yet - she's still dehydrated and emaciated. Now she's lapping up milk on her own (about 40 ccs at each feeding!) and has gained about 50 grams, so there's hope. She has some issues with her back legs, but I'm not sure if that's due to her body shutting down from dehydration/emaciation, a neurological disorder, or because she's a baby and young animals aren't very coordinated. Time will tell.

I've been concentrating so much on keeping her alive that I haven't even thought about her long-term plans - I either need to give her to a rehabber who already has a fox, or I need to steal someone else's fox kit so she can have a friend. Thankfully, I've still got a little while before I have to do that - I have to make sure she's stable and healthy before then.

Here are some pictures and videos of her (you're welcome, Patti!).


Spilled milk!

Milk mustache


Video of me trying to get her to drink milk on her first night here:

As you can see, it wasn't very successful - hence the tube feeding.

Video of her lapping up milk NOW:

Video of her walking.

See what I mean about the back legs?

Date: 2011-04-05 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The milk mustache picture is absolutely adorable!!!!!

Date: 2011-04-09 05:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's my favorite picture out of the whole bunch. The funny thing is that now that she's feeling better, if I *dare* touch her food ramekin while she's trying to eat out of it, she'll growl at me. It's so adorable because she's so small!

Date: 2011-04-05 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow that's amazing! Thanks for sharing this story, and for doing what you do.

Two questions:
Where do you get raccoon milk? Are you milking your raccoons? That sounds dangerous.

Also, because this kit was found so young, do you think she'll be able to return to the wild or will she always need to live in captivity?

Date: 2011-04-09 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, the raccoon milk comes from raccoons. I have a couple of raccoons that I keep on hand, and I hook them up to a milk machine about once a week to collect more.

Just kidding.

I get my raccoon milk from Fox Valley. They make the formula and tailor it to the correct protein/fat/calorie levels that a raccoon needs. I just bought a 20lb container (which will *hopefully* last me for this entire baby season) for $230. It's pricey, but totally worth it.

My hope is that she'll be able to be returned to the wild one day. Although I have to spend a lot of time with her right now, young animals generally "wild up" on their own when they sexually mature. I have to quarantine her for two weeks to make sure she doesn't have any diseases she could pass onto other foxes, but once that quarantine period is up, I'll be finding another fox friend for her. Foxes are pretty social animals, so it's important that she gets a friend so she stops crying all the time. At this point, I'm not sure whether I'll take on another fox or give her to another rehabber. My guess is that I'll place her with another rehabber, but I'm not positive yet. I have to see if anyone else has one that's close to her age.

Date: 2011-04-05 03:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG... that little one is SO SO precious!!!

Thanks for sharing the story and hope you find another friend for your lil' fox.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! I hope I find another friend for her, too. She needs a friend!

Date: 2011-04-05 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aaaggghhhh! She's really great! Such a little fighter!

So, if her legs are bum ... she won't be able to be released, will she? Could she go somewhere and be a teaching fox? She's so adorable and you are my hero, when I grow up I wanna be you.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It depends on the extent of her back legged bum-ness. Some animals are able to live fairly normal lives without the use of one or two of their legs. If it was a permanent issue, the good news is that she encountered it early enough in her life that she can probably adapt pretty well to it (akin to a child born without the use of her legs compared to a 60 year old man who loses his legs in a tractor accident...).

However! I'm not convinced there's something medically wrong with her legs. She tends to slide the legs out (Bambi style) when she's on a slippery surface, but when she's on carpet, she has a bit better control over them. Also, the walking issues could be a product of her age - she's in that age group when she's learning to walk (birth defect or not), so she could just be walking really awkwardly for awhile.

The good thing is that she seems to be improving, so I'm hopeful!

When I grow up I want to be you. And I'm serious about you coming to visit me one day.

Date: 2011-04-05 04:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
BAWWWW send her to me! I will be her friend! Yes, yes, wild animals and all... ;)

Date: 2011-04-09 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm usually pretty good about separating "wildlife" from "pet," but even this fox has tugged at my heartstrings. I'll probably be passing her along to another rehabber (so I can free up my space for the onslaught of baby raccoon season), but it's going to be SO HARD to do that. I'm already a bit attached!

Date: 2011-04-05 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG she's adorable!!!! I hope she makes it.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That icon is awesome! :-) I hope she makes it, too. She's a fighter, so I have faith in her!

Date: 2011-04-05 09:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
totally cute! David told me his wife rehabs KOALA BEARS!!!! Im gonna fly down to Australia on the way home and pick you up one.

Date: 2011-04-05 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Best husband ever.

Sending Spencer over for lessons.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes please.

Date: 2011-04-05 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cannot brain, ded of cute.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ha! :-)

Date: 2011-04-05 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
She is SO CUTE, I want to snuggle her like crazy. Seriously, I think I need to steal some of Pat's insulin after watching those videos.

So, I was looking on your profile page because I was looking for your blog link (I have a friend who is obsessed with foxes and would LOVE to see these pictures, so I wanted to send her to your blog, but then I found your blog and she's not up there anyway) and I saw the picture of you covered with Bats.

And I almost died of cute AGAIN, I adore little bats, I love how cute they are, and they they eat bugs I hate, and their adorable little "fingers" I am now even more jealous that you get to rehab two of my all time favorite mammals, Raccoons and Bats.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I posted this entry on my rehab blog too, so you can always send her there now. :-)

Bats are SO amazing! I love them so much (and I'd still be rehabbing them if I wasn't allergic to mealworms!). Most people think they're gross and they're all the same, but those people are wrong. They each have their own personalities and are SO much fun to rehab. Some of my best rehab moments have been shutting myself in our mudroom and letting the bats fly around the room, swirling all around my head. SO COOL. Their fingers are so neat, too! Have you ever seen a bat up close?

Date: 2011-04-05 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So cute! And congrats to you on getting her on the right path, even if you're not out of the woods yet, that's awesome!

Date: 2011-04-09 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! It's required a lot of my time, but she's totally worth it. She's getting so much better - I can't believe I got her a week ago! She's nearly a normal baby now.

Date: 2011-04-05 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Amazing story! I hope she continues to thrive. She is adorable. I love hearing about your rehab adventures.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! :-) I need to get into the habit of writing more about my adventures. I love sharing these stories with people!

Date: 2011-04-05 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm going to fall over from the awesomeness of this post.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I will put piles of fox kits for you to snuggle with when you fall on the floor. :-)

Date: 2011-04-05 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I really want to snuggle that little ball of cute :) I think the milk picture is my favorite and will be the new background on my phone :) thanks for sharing

Date: 2011-04-09 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I made that picture my phone background, too! It's just so adorable. This is the kind of stuff that makes me feel good about what I do. :-)

Date: 2011-04-06 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've changed my mind...I don't want it. I NEED IT.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
She is SO soft, too. The first thing I told her? "I can see why people make coats out of you!"

Date: 2011-04-06 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ahhhhhhhhh!! Lizzie, you are incredible.

Date: 2011-04-06 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm just sobbing over the pitiful that is the walking video!!! Oh, man, she just looks so sad! Are the legs stiff? Have you tried doing like... Passive range of motion exercises and stuff to loosen them up? It's almost as though she can't feel them. So sad.

Date: 2011-04-09 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Don't cry! She's getting a LOT more stable on her feet. I think it's just a combination of her weakness, being on a slippery surface, and the fact that they're not born knowing how to walk. She's gotten a lot better - I think she'll be okay. I'm doing some range of motion exercises just in case that'll help, though!

Date: 2011-04-10 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for your share! very impressive!


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