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Toronto dog helps save the life of a poisoned fox in a rare procedure

A rare blood transfusion led by the Toronto Wildlife Center (TWC) to a poisoned red fox miraculously helped save its life last month.

On March 27, local resident Andrea saw the sick animal stumbling off the road and assumed it had been hit by a car.

After calling the TWC hotline, a rescue team arrived and noticed the fox’s behavior was strange, weak and lethargic. The wildlife rescue group also noted that the animal appeared to faint briefly after being captured.

“I have been doing wildlife rescues for almost eleven years,” says assistant rescue team manager Sarrah. “I’ve only seen a fox play dead once.”

After a brief examination, ultrasound and blood tests, veterinarians found that the results were not consistent with those of an animal hit by a vehicle, although the fox was pale and bleeding from minor wounds.

In the meantime, Dr. Cameron Berg from TWC with emergency treatment to address the fox’s symptoms and make him more comfortable. However, the next day the animal was still lethargic and its anemia had become even worse, despite a full ultrasound and x-rays showing nothing.

The fox still had minor bleeding from its mouth and a small wound, indicating it was suffering from rodenticide poisoning.

According to the TWC, Dr. Berg read an article about a successful blood transfusion in a gray fox using blood from a dog. The rescue team took a leap of faith by injecting dog blood into the fox while closely monitoring his vital signs.

By the end of the procedure, the fox seemed a little brighter, and the next day was much more aware and responsive. Weeks later, the TWC says the fox is still stable, eating well and behaving like a normal fox.

“This fox was very lucky. Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) are chemicals that cause horrible, inhumane deaths in their target species, causing the blood to stop clotting and the animal to bleed to death,” the organization noted.

“We are happy to share this happy fox’s story. And we strongly encourage people not to use rodenticides for any reason.”