Urban foxes are one of the most frequent wildlife visitors to our gardens and parks. It is not uncommon for them to get injured or ill however, be that through road traffic accidents, getting caught in fencing and traps, or catching contagious diseases such as mange. Many members of the public often feel unsure on what they can do when they find a fox who is unwell or injured and often wonder if there are vets who treat foxes.
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So, do foxes get vet care?
All vets in the UK are obliged to provide emergency treatment for British wildlife in accordance with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) code of conduct. This means you can take an injured fox to your local veterinary surgeon and they will be able to provide emergency treatment.
In many circumstances, vet practices do not have the appropriate facilities to rehabilitate and provide treatment for foxes over a longer period of time. In those circumstances the fox will often be transferred to a dedicated wildlife hospital or rehabilitation centre for continued care.
It is also possible to take an injured fox directly to a wildlife hospital for care. Although it is best to ring ahead first and check they have veterinary staff working and the appropriate facilities and resources to deal with the casualty. If the animal is in a critical condition or clearly very unwell it should be taken directly to the nearest veterinary surgeon without delay. A full list of British wildlife rehabilitators can be found here: British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
Do they need to go to a specialist fox vet?
In short, No.
Many vets have special interests, or particular species that they are more experienced treating and that is no different with foxes. Wildlife vets treat a range of wild animals which include foxes. Some vets have advanced qualifications or are specialists in their field, and have more knowledge on treating specific species.
This doesn’t mean however that your local vet cannot treat a fox. In fact foxes have a very similar anatomy and physiology to the domestic dog. Many of the medications used to treat foxes are similar. Your local vet will be able to provide emergency care and treatment for the fox. And they will be able to refer to specialist vets if needed.
Do I have to pay for the fox to be treated if I take it to the vets?
As foxes are not owned, you will not usually need to pay the bill for the fox’s treatment. Most wildlife hospitals are publicly funded charities. Any donation towards the animals’ care is always very much appreciated but not in any way mandatory. However, the situation for the first-opinion vet can sometimes be more complex. So make sure you know what the situation is with your vet practice.
How do I get the fox to the vets?
This is an important issue, foxes can cause injury through biting. So it is important to only transport the animal if the animal is in an emergency situation, such as collapsed and in imminent danger. And can be safely restrained without risk of injury to yourself or anyone assisting. In these cases the animal should be contained within a large portable kennel such as a dog transport crate. This is to ensure they cannot escape during the car journey and to prevent further injury to them.
If the animal is still moving around and alert then the RSCPA or a local wildlife rescue team should be called to assist. They have staff who will come out and safely restrain the animal and transport it for veterinary care. The RSPCA contact details can be found here: Injured wild animals | RSPCA.
- Foxes do get veterinary care and all UK vet surgeons must provide emergency treatment to sick and injured foxes
- Foxes can cause injury through biting, and other than in exceptional circumstances professionals should be called to restrain and transport injured animals
- If you take a fox to a vets you will not usually have to pay for emergency veterinary treatment as you do not own the animal