Studies of disease in the Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Northern Ireland



Some 720 foxes were examined for signs of disease and parasites, incidental to an intensive ecological study. The epifauna, skin infections, intestinal helminths and lesions of internal organs are described and rates of infection given. Important diseases included sarcoptic mange, which is a major debilitating factor and probably a fatal infection. Leptospirosis was common, antibodies were recorded in the blood, and chronic interstitial nephritis was a frequent condition of the kidneys. The nematodes Uncinaria stenocephala and Toxocara spp. were often present as parasites of the alimentary canal and may be a mortality factor in cubs. The cestodes and ectoparasites alone would appear to be of little importance and largely reflect the diet of the fox.