Trevor’s Week - March 21, 2012 - New warning over secondary poisoning

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WRAS has had a week of emergency calls, needing urgent responses. Tony and Claire rushed out to a report of a very poorly fox in a garden in Cedar Close, Eastbourne.

The fox legged it from the garden as they approached but 20 minutes later was found shaking behind a shed. The fox managed to get over a wall but rather than running off she just lay down.

Tony called for additional help so Kate and I attended. The fox was then cornered between a hedge and a brick wall.

We strung a net along the hedgerow and blocked off either end. I then crawled in and managed to catch the fox using a dog grasper to which the fox put up quite a fight.

However, once secured in the fox cage she went very quiet, clearly in shock. An examination back at WRAS’s Casualty Centre showed bleeding from her vulva.

She was taken to Henley House vets in Uckfield where she was examined, an x-ray taken too, but no obvious injures found.

At this point her temperature had dropped and she was clearly dehydrated so placed on intravenous fluids and given medication.

Back at WRAS’s Casualty Centre she was bedded down. Our initial thoughts were she was a road casualty and was monitored closely, but after about four hours she started passing digested blood, as well as bleeding from her gums, eye lids, and elsewhere.

Eventually due to her behaviour and further veterinary assessments it was concluded she was probably suffering from poisoning.

WRAS has issued a warning to pet owners in the Cedar Close area of Eastbourne to be vigilant with their pets. The fox was most likely affected by secondary poisoning after eating a rat or mouse which had died from rat poisoning.

Sadly our rescued fox died overnight despite our best efforts. We hope this fox dying may help prevent a local pet dog or cat from suffering.

Our worry is that if a fox can pick up the poison, then being in a residential area like this it could well be possible for dogs and cats to pick it up too.

We feel the situation warrants a warning to local residents in the hope no pets end up suffering.

WRAS is urging pet owners who have concerns to contact their veterinary practice and seek advice. Suspected poisoning cases should be treated as an emergency and should not wait till morning, use your local vet’s emergency number to seek help.

ON A brighter note little Teddie the orphaned fox cub rescued in Eastbourne a few weeks ago, is doing well and her eyes are now opened.

Also Cupid, the fox road casualty found on the A259 near Beachy Head about five weeks ago in a very bad way, has made a full recovery and was finally released last week.

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WE ALSO had a call out to a Daubenton’s bat found clinging to a wall of Gardner Books at Hampden Park. The bat was found to be dehydrated and a bit thin at the rear, so after a check over at WRAS’s Casualty Centre and being given some vital fluids to drink, the bat was driven up to Jenny Clark at the Sussex Bat Hospital at Forest Row.

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WE had a little cat-attacked bunny rescued at Ringmer but sadly the poorly little one did not survive.

We also had a late-night call to an 895g hedgehog found covered in ticks in a garden in Lewes. He also has a small wound on his head. I collected him and took him across the centre and removed more 40 than ticks before bedding him down in a cage.

On the way home I was called to a road casualty badger on the A22 between Uckfield and Halland. Sadly the badger was dead when I arrived.

Hedgehogs are starting to wake up from hibernation now, so it’s a good time to put out food and water for hungry and thirsty hogs.

Remember any hog out in daytime will be in need of medical help and hedgehogs do not sunbathe.

If you see a hedgehog out even at night that seems unwell, staggering, very thin, etc then please pick it up and keep it somewhere secure in a warm place and call for help.

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WE HAD another rather upsetting rescue on Friday afternoon involving four baby badgers in a collapsed sett under some concrete foundations of the old council yard off Bedfordwell Road, Eastbourne, next to the railway line.

The demolition company stopped work as soon as they heard the noise coming from under the rubble.

Tony and Trevor had to dig them out by hand, moving the lumps of concrete and rubble which had been broken up the previous evening.

Sadly one was already dead, and another died while we were there. The remaining two were very cold and had to be gently warmed up by Claire while Tony drove them as quickly as possible up to Folly Wildlife Rescue, near Tunbridge Wells, for specialist care with Annette and Dave Risley, local orphan badger experts.

The two remaining badger cubs, less than a week old, are amazingly responding to care and doing very well. The entire sett under the foundations had completely collapsed, I spent some time with Tony trying to locate the tunnel but found no trace.

The demolition company were advised to contact Natural England, the government department responsible for wildlife licences, before continuing with their work. An environmental survey was apparently undertaken prior to the work being carried out but it sadly missed this sett.

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WE WERE called to Terminus Road, in Eastbourne, on Saturday to a pigeon struggling to fly in an alleyway next to WH Smiths. Neighbouring shops did not seem to know how to open the gateway so I attended with a set of ladders to climb over to get to the bird. It turned out to be a young pigeon just about flying but not able to get any height. I was able to catch him quite easily and he was underweight, young and calcium deficient so he is now in care.

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FINALLY, on Sunday we had a Kestrel rescued from East Dean, thought to be either a road casualty or flown into a window or similar. She is on treatment and our fingers are crossed that she will survive.

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East Sussex WRAS is a voluntary organisation which relies on donations, receiving no funding from government or the RSPCA. Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact the treasurer at PO Box 2148, Seaford, BN25 9DE.

24-hour rescue line: 07815 078234

www.wildlifeambulance.org