The condition of the fox got worse in the morning of December the 29th in the clinic, seizure medication helped only for a short time and the animal had to be euthanized.
According to doctors at the Loomade Kiirabi Clinic, the number of diseases such as poisoning, infectious diseases, head trauma, internal illnesses, etc., can cause nervous system disorder symptoms in foxes. Infectious diseases for foxes are the same ones which are also common to dogs, such as canine distemper virus, infectious hepatitis, parasitic diseases (toxoplasmosis, neospora) as well as rabies, are also transmitted. Estonia is recognized today as rabies-free, but it always must be kept in mind that wildlife can bring it back with migration from neighboring countries.
Samples taken in the clinic from the fox were sent to a German laboratory for further examination on the December 30th. Today the test results came in - fox tested positive for Canine Distemper Virus PCR and Toxoplasmosis IgG. Both diseases can be accompanied by signs of the nervous system (seizures, coordination disorders, altered mental adequacy, muscle twitching of individual body parts, etc.).
According to doctors at the Loomade Kiirabi Clinic, Canine Distemper Virus is a highly contagious viral disease which unfortunately, usually has a fatal outcome, when the neuroform has developed. Dogs, ferrets, wild animals (fox, raccoons, wolves, etc.) may become ill. Symptoms of the disease include indigestion, coughing / sneezing, eye inflammation, skin problems, fever, neurological signs. The virus spreads by various skin secretions: urine, stool, eye and nasal passages, sneezing. The virus is unstable in the environment and disappeares in the space in about a few hours. Infection occurs mainly through the contact with droplets and contaminated material.
It should be taken in notice , that the incubation period until symptoms appear may be several weeks. The animal excretes the virus for about 5 days before the onset of symptoms, and after healing the virus is excreted for up to 4 months.
This is not the first case of Canine Distemper Virus. By the end of 2019, several cases of Canine Distemper Virus in dogs had been diagnosed in animal clinics! This fox is currently known to be the first wild animal who was diagnosed with the Canine Distemper Virus in Estonia.
ALL DOG OWNERS MUST CHECK, if their dog has a valid vaccination. Vaccination is the ONLY thing you can do, to prevent and limit the spread of the plague. It’s very important that puppies have their multiple puppy vaccines - the first vaccine at least 8 weeks of age and the booster at least 1 month later. After the basic vaccine, a booster vaccination is required every 1-2 years.
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease, that occurs more frequently in cats. It is also a zoonosis, meaning that it can also affect people. Symptoms are mostly neurological. Animals usually become infected by eating raw meat or by faeces / urine.
Be careful when you see wild animals with seizures or other neurological signs, as the animal can be a carrier and distributor of infectious disease. Avoid letting your domestic animals get in contact with wild animals. We kindly ask you to let us know immediately about of such wild animals by calling 5632 22 00 or by writing in our messenger.
When contacting a suspicious or infectious animal, we recommend that you observe the primary hygiene requirements rules, to prevent the possible spread of infection. Change clothes and shoes, use disinfectants to clean hands, clothes, shoes and allow them to air dry for at least 2 hours. Also, avoid contact with domestic animals after suspected infected wildlife. If your pet has been in contact with a suspicious wild animal and your dog hasn’t been vaccinated or hasn’t been vaccinated regularly, we recommend that you vaccinate your dog immediately and repeat it at least 2 weeks later.
We sincerely thank the person who found the fox for informing us of the sick animal. Without this information, the fox would probably never had reached the clinic and we wouldn’t know anything about this case. We thank all of our supporters and donators, if we didn’t have you we would’t have been able to order all the analyzes from the clinic. Thanks to our volunteers and members - Serious Emergency Coordinator Merilin Laud, Inga Turk, and Katrin Idla.
We thank the Veterinary and Food Board, for their prompt response and good cooperation, who sent the euthanized fox on The 30th of December for further study to the Veterinary and Food Laboratory (VTL). The rabies test in VTL was negative.
Please share this information with all dog owners!

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