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44   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

other, the gall bladder was abnormally distended. Most of them showed some redness of the alimentary tract. I am of opinion that death was due to some food poisons—ptomaine. In one animal that died there was a jelly-like fluid between the pelt and the flesh of the hind legs.

"When pups are shedding their milk teeth—usually at the age of three months—abscesses are liable to form at the roots of the tusks. The fox then swells around the snout. In such cases the tusks, which are quite loose, should be extracted. Give them large bones to gnaw so they can knock out these teeth. This will usually prevent the formation of these abscesses.

"Fleas and Moths.—Dip the fox in weak solution of creolin in order to rid him of these pests.

"Fox Surgery.—I have had more to do with foxes in a surgical than in a medical way. They frequently break their limbs in fighting among themselves or in an effort to escape by climbing their enclosures. These fractures are usually compound and necessitate the amputation of the limb. The flesh is stripped back and the protruding bone is snipped off with bone forceps. The wound is dressed antiseptically and the flesh is stitched over the bone. The whole part is well dusted with iodoform, and wrapped in gauze bound on with surgeon's adhesive plaster. The fox will not touch the dressing when dusted with iodoform. The operation is simple, no anaesthetic is needed and there is no danger from bleeding, because, as a rule, no arteries have to be tied. In fact, it is dangerous to give an anaesthetic.

"When the fracture is not compound, the limb may be set in splints of any light wood; maple saplings make good splints. Bind the splint on with adhesive plaster and with rabbit wire; the fur makes sufficient padding for it. Dust with iodoform to keep the fox from tearing the splint off. In winter, care must be taken that the leg does not freeze.

"Judicious feeding can only be learned by experience. Grass and other green food and fresh earth should be placed in the enclosures at frequent intervals, as the animals require something of that nature to keep them healthy. Their kennels should be kept as clean as possible and should be washed out once or twice a year with a hot solution of creolin, two drams to the pint. One breeder dips all his foxes, after the pups are weaned, in a weak solution of creolin to rid them of fleas and other vermin.

"In general, it is far better to take good hygienic precautions before the foxes get sick, than to invite disease by having them live in filth in small enclosures."


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