Welcome to our Mange by Mail Gallery page. Many of the foxes and coyotes you see here have been treated successfully using our program and the participants have allowed us to use their photos as examples to help you determine if you are seeing an animal with mange, or a perfectly healthy animal going through the normal transitions of molting/shedding their winter coats.
Foxes with Mange: Foxes tend to lose hair on their face, ears, and back end/rump. They can reach their back end to chew and scratch and often this is where we see the first signs of wounds and hair loss. They also eventually lose their fluffy, beautiful tail fur. In more extreme cases and fox with mange will appear to have an “opossum tail” that is skinny and hairless. This sometimes makes it difficult to identify them as foxes at all. Red foxes develop crusty skin on their face and around their eyes which causes pain when opening their eyes and eventually leads to vision loss. You may see flakes of skin mixed in with the fur they have left as well. Both red foxes and coyotes will eventually develop a hunchback look because the skin tightens when it becomes crusty and infected and makes it painful for them to stand straight. Imagine a wound/scab on your skin that involves your leg hair or chest hair. When wounds develop in a hairy area the hair gets pulled by the scab and makes it difficult to bend or stretch that area because of the painful pulling. They can’t soak the scab to keep it soft and pliable. They often can’t even reach the scabbed areas to do anything about it. This is why the animal will often die of this condition. They lie down and avoid moving due to how painful it is and begin to starve. If it’s cold outside, they will die of hypothermia because they no longer have the undercoat they need to keep them warm and cannot go out to hunt and obtain enough calories to help them through the coldest of nights. Animals need 30% more calories on nights below freezing just to provide enough energy to stay warm enough to not freeze to death.
Coyotes with Mange: Coyotes tend to lose hair on their legs and torso first. They often develop deep open wounds from scratching and biting at themselves. Their ears become crusted at the edges and you may see large open sores on their rump, tail and torso from scratching. They also develop a hunchbacked appearance from not wanting to pull at the hairy scabs on their spine. These scabs with hair involved pull hard when they move, run, walk, and open back up to bleed. This contributes to the inability to hunt daily to provide them with the nutrition to survive, especially in the cold. By the time they lose their undercoats they can no longer keep warm and night and people often report that they are lying outside in back yards (under pine trees as well) and ‘sunbathing’ to soak up the sun and heat in the mornings and daytime simply trying to bring their body temperature back up after a cold night. Coyotes will sometimes lay in one sunny spot for hours during the day, scratching constantly, and usually pick the same spot to do this day after day. Unfortunately, by this stage, they look hunchbacked, emaciated with ribs showing, almost hairless, and at times the skin on their hairless faces will contract to make them look as though they are baring their teeth in an aggressive manner. This is a scary look for the public and it can lead to people’s unwillingness to help these suffering animals. They will eventually succumb to starvation or hypothermia if they do not receive treatment.
Rehab Clinic Care Versus Mange by Mail
100% of mange cases would recover more quickly and more fully in the resident care of a wildlife rehab clinic or caretaker. In a clinical environment we can control the temperature so that animals don’t freeze, we can provide adequate nutrition and IV fluids to help them recover more quickly and save their lives when cases are severe. We can also treat any other issues caused by the mange infection. We can treat for skin infections with antibiotics. We can treat for any other parasitic infections. We can keep them safe from predators while they heal, which limits their stress level and provides them with a better chance at recovery. We do not offer the Mange by Mail Program as “better” way to treat mange. We much prefer for mange to be treated in-house by professionals who are trained in predator husbandry and can provide for all of this animal’s medical and nutritional needs. However, over the years we have found that there are a LOT of areas that do not have nearby access to a wildlife rehabilitator of any kind, especially one that will accept adult coyotes and foxes into their care. In addition we know firsthand that trapping foxes and coyotes, especially when sick and dying, is not an easy task. These are skittish animals and they are even more cautious when they know they are sick and on high alert for anything suspicious. Wild animals know when they are vulnerable to attack and they know better than to take any chances. This is why we only offer this program for foxes and coyotes. Squirrels, raccoons, and other animals get mange too. It’s not as common, but it does happen. The difference is that a squirrel can be easily trapped and there are many more rehabbers available to help residents with a sick squirrel compared to a sick coyote or fox. You can trap and transport a squirrel in a trap to a local rehabber more easily as well. They fit in your back seat and pose less of a threat to the public when being transported. However, foxes and coyotes can be much trickier. For those reasons, we offer this program. The medication that we use is widely available for livestock and perfectly legal to purchase over the counter. We do make it easier by giving you dosing instructions and syringes that work with this particular medication. (It happens to be a very viscous, thick medication that can’t be dispensed with small diabetic syringes.) Does this mean that we’re BETTER at treating mange than a traditional in-house rehabber? Absolutely not! However, when your choices are to watch an animal suffer, day after day and night after night, while it refuses to go into a trap you have set but gets sicker and sicker every day, or set up a bait station and get the medication to them by any means necessary, we believe the latter option just makes more sense. The United Kingdom ran a program like this for red foxes for over a decade, using the exact same medication and guidelines that we are using, and it was a huge success. At some point, they lost government funding for that program and shut it down, but it wasn’t because of bad results. We decided to offer the same program on a donation basis and have witnessed miracle after miracle. Participants send us photos and letters daily to tell us how thankful they are that they found us and were able to do something to help these suffering animals. Here are just a few testimonials sent to us in the last 10 years of running this program. We sincerely hope that we can add your story to our wall of success in the very near future. When you’re ready to make the donation and sign up, click Donate to get started.
Dec. 2019 – Just wanted to let you know that I finally saw my coyote that we dosed with ivermectin. He has grown back quite a bit of hair.! I’m so grateful to this program! -Linda V., Kansas
Aug. 2019 – My fox is beautiful and happy again! I am sending you photos from our trail camera. He was so skinny and pitiful before, and you were right – it took only a week before he stopped eating the bait and hanging around the house scratching all day, but more than a month before his hair grew back to where we could SEE the difference! It’s been 3 months now and I know he’s the same fox from a scar he has on his face since he was a baby. His hair all grew back, even his tail! Oh, his poor tail 3 months ago was awful! He looks great now and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thank you for all that you do and all that you did for “our” fox. -Patricia W., Missouri
Nov. 2019 – I cannot thank you enough for your mange assistance, for offering this to the public and for educating the public on what can be done. I have ordered from you in the past and have seen them recover beautifully! -Jennifer, Colorado
Sep. 2019 – Thank you so much for helping me save the poor coyote from such intense suffering. This is such a blessing!! -Debbie H., Texas
Feb, 2018 – Thank you so much for the mange treatment. I received it yesterday. I have a den in the woods behind my house. Two foxes have mange (one is worse than the other). They consistently lay in the sun under my pine trees. I saw one this morning and I put the medication mixed with canned dog food and it ate it immediately. It was so easy! And put my mind at ease. Seeing them suffer is heartbreaking. Hoping #2 shows up so I can treat it as well. I am very interested to see the results (even if that means not seeing the fox again!). There are no programs that help so I genuinely appreciate what you do! – Antoinette B., Virginia
Jan, 2018 – You saved our coyotes with your mange program! There were 2 coming to our yard every day scratching all the time, so skinny and hairless. We couldn’t tell they were coyotes at first! We finally found you, got the medication, put it in ground turkey, and watched them eat it back in November. We saw the same two yesterday in exactly the same area. It’s easy to see them with the snow on the ground here. They look good as new now! They surely would have died without your help. – Jan D., Pennsylvania