Red Fox Diseases (10 of The Most Common)

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Red foxes are a sight to behold with their mix of reddish-orange fur. They can be found in many different regions, such as North America, Asia, and Europe. While these foxes are adorable, it’s never recommended to try and approach one. 

Unfortunately, red foxes are not immune to various diseases and parasites that run rampant in the wild. If you live in an area populated by a red fox, it’s important to know various red fox diseases and what signs to look out for. 

Red Fox Diseases And What To Look Out For

Red foxes are prone to catching a variety of different internal and external parasites, diseases, and infections. There are also different types of infections, viruses, and fungi that they are able to catch and transmit to other animals, and sometimes, even humans. 

As tempting as it might be to approach a red fox that appears to be calm, it’s not a good idea, especially if you have pets at home. If you were to stumble upon a red fox that appeared injured, seems to be missing fur, or appears either lethargic or manic, it’s best to call your local animal control or wildlife rescuers to handle the situation. 

Do Foxes Carry Diseases? Can They Infect Dogs Or Other Pets?

Foxes are able to carry diseases that can be contagious for dogs and other pets should there be any contact made. In the event that your household pet was to come into contact with a red fox, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately to ensure that anything potentially caught can be treated right away. 

Can A Fox Carry Rabies?

The red fox is, unfortunately, one of the biggest transmitters of rabies in some areas. They are very prone to catching this devastating disease. Rabies gets passed through the saliva of an infected animal, so if a red fox gets a bite from a rabies-infected animal, they will catch the disease. 

What Does Rabies Do To A Fox?

Rabies can cause a red fox to show a variety of different behaviors. They tend to get very aggressive, but at the same time, they might appear like they are losing their footing. Rabies can interfere with a fox’s ability to move around, and eventually, it can paralyze them. 

This is because rabies is a disease that essentially deteriorates the infected animal’s nervous system. A fox can start showing signs of having contracted rabies pretty quickly after they have been infected. 

Do Foxes With Rabies Get Better?

Foxes with rabies do not have the ability to see any kind of improvement before the disease spreads. This is true for any animal who catches rabies, as there is no known cure at this time for rabies. Once a fox has rabies, it can cause them to rapidly decline in health over the course of a few days. Most will not survive for very long. 

This is why vaccination is so crucial for anyone who risks exposure to a rabid animal. Similarly, this is why many wildlife centers are vaccinating wild animals in areas where rabies is rampant. 

Are Rabid Foxes Contagious?

A rabid red fox, or any fox for that matter, can be extremely dangerous and contagious. It is very important to never attempt to approach a red fox that appears to show any signs of having rabies. All it takes is one bite and they are able to transmit rabies to someone else. 

The only way a fox will be able to pass rabies onto another animal, or a person is by biting them, or by getting their saliva into an open wound. Even small scratches are enough to become infected, however, so be careful!

Can A Fox Be Vaccinated For Rabies?

In some areas with red fox populations, vaccination efforts are made to try and control the spread of rabies amongst foxes and other animals. With rabid animals being prone to attacking other animals, rabies can spread very quickly and have devastating effects on local wildlife and any domestic animals they get near. 

Rabid Foxes Are Dangerous

Rabid foxes can be dangerous, as rabies tends to cause animals to act irrationally and attack anything in their vicinity. However, rabies can often be fatal for foxes quite quickly, and so they don’t have the opportunity to spread it very far.

Can Foxes Carry Mange?

A red fox is able to catch and carry mange. This disease can affect different species of canines, including dogs, coyotes, and wolves. Mange has historically had a devastating impact on fox populations throughout the world. 

What Is Mange, and What Does It Do to A Fox?

Mange is an infection that’s caused by a mite bite, and one of the telltale signs of a red fox with mange is missing patches of fur. When a mite latches onto a red fox, it will also lay eggs to birth new mites that will continue to spread the mange. 

As the mange is able to spread, it can result in irritations and rashes on the skin which can smell horrible and cause a lot of discomfort for the infected animal. A red fox with mange will also experience weight loss. 

Are Foxes With Mange Dangerous? Is It Contagious?

Mange can be contagious for dogs, other foxes, wolves, and coyotes. In order to transmit mange, a mite would have to move from the host to the other animal through direct contact. Mange can also be contracted by humans, but it typically results in a skin condition that can be treated very easily.

Can Foxes Recover From Mange?

It would be difficult for a red fox living in the wild to recover from mange, given that it doesn’t have access to medical intervention. Once these mites that cause mange attach themselves to an animal and procreate, they tend not to leave unless they are killed off with medication. 

Unless the red fox lives in an area where they can be treated by wildlife conservationists or wildlife vets, mange will sadly lead to the red fox passing away. 

Depending on how sparse the population of wild red foxes is, the mites could eventually die off as they cannot move between hosts very easily, and thus, the red fox population in an area could eventually recover from an outbreak. 

How Do You Treat A Fox With Mange?

If a red fox, or any fox with mange, is able to get medical assistance, they are able to be treated for mange. A fox can be treated with medication, known as ivermectin, and is typically monitored to ensure it regains its appetite. 

Can Foxes Carry Parvo?

A fox is able to catch and subsequently carry the parvovirus. A fox can catch parvo by consuming the fecal matter of an animal that previously had the virus. In order for a red fox to catch parvo, fecal matter has to be ingested. While parvo hasn’t been identified as a major threat to red foxes, it can still be harmful if caught. 

What Is Parvo, and What Does It Do To A Fox?

Parvo is a virus that can be transmitted to other animals easily. It is most commonly known as impacting dogs, who are often vaccinated against parvovirus. 

Parvo is known to cause severe stomach upset and gastrointestinal damage. Parvo typically attacks an animal’s immune system and ends up causing severe diarrhea and subsequent dehydration. 

A red fox with parvo will usually appear weak and unhappy, and they might not have much of an appetite. 

Do Foxes Recover From Parvo?

A fox will most likely not recover from parvo, especially if they are not able to get veterinary care. Treatment for parvo requires a combination of managing symptoms and treating symptoms. There is currently no cure for parvovirus; there is only a vaccine that helps prevent contracting the virus. 

Is Parvo Contagious?

Parvo is a very contagious virus, and it is very difficult to get rid of. Even household cleaners and sanitizers don’t offer much help in terms of eliminating parvovirus in a contained environment. Thus, in the wild, parvo is able to spread fairly easily. 

That being said, it is usually passed between animals through the consumption of fecal matter from an animal that has parvo. 

Can Foxes Get Kennel Cough?

It is not widely known whether or not the red fox, or other foxes, can catch kennel cough. While kennel cough is very contagious, being that it can be transmitted through droplets in the air, there wouldn’t be much of an opportunity for a fox to come into contact with an animal that has kennel cough. 

However, foxes are known for being able to catch canine distemper, which can cause symptoms that might be mistaken for kennel cough. Kennel cough tends to cause constant coughing and hacking, which canine distemper can cause as well. Lungworm can also cause difficulty breathing, which could lead to coughing. 

Similar to kennel cough, it is extremely easy to pass canine distemper from one animal to another. Droplets become airborne when an infected animal coughs or sneezes, so a fox in the vicinity of an infected animal can inhale canine distemper easily. 

There is no known cure for canine distemper at this time, and symptoms are usually managed in infected animals as best as possible through medical intervention. 

Can Foxes Get Covid?

There have been some studies completed on whether or not foxes can catch and subsequently transmit Covid. Sadly, it has been found that foxes are able to catch Covid. However, it isn’t known what the effects of Covid are on foxes and other animals in the wild yet, as it is hard to monitor wild animals thoroughly. 

Studies that have shown that foxes are capable of contracting Covid were mainly performed on farms that produce fur, so the foxes that were known to be able to catch it were not in the wild. 

Different Parasites That Foxes Might Get

With wild foxes consuming different pests that can carry parasites, it’s unfortunately very easy for a fox to catch one. They can then pass that parasite to other animals when those animals come into contact with the fox. It is also possible that parasites can attach themselves to a fox’s open wounds. 


Fleas are very easily caught and passed by red foxes, but they are not considered to be much of a threat to foxes of any kind. Being that there are different types of fleas, foxes can attract many of them. Fleas are very easy to transmit to other animals and humans. 


Foxes are also able to carry ticks if they live in an area where ticks live. A tick can bite onto its host and feed off its blood. Ticks do not always impact a fox’s health, but if the tick itself is infected with a disease, it can pass it on to a fox. 


Lungworm can be contracted by red foxes if they ingest slugs or snails, which are the common carriers of the parasite. It can also be contracted if a red fox drinks water or eats grass that is contaminated by a snail or slug’s mucus. 

When a red fox catches lungworm, it can impact their breathing and their heart. Unless the infected fox were able to get treated, the lungworm can be fatal. 


Heartworm is a common concern for those who own dogs. Unfortunately, red foxes are also able to become infected by heartworms. It can be fatal, but red foxes don’t typically pass heartworm to other animals directly. Rather, it is passed through another animal or insect consuming feces and passing it to an animal that subsequently eats them.


Mites are the primary cause of mange in foxes, which is one of the infections that impact red foxes and all other foxes living in the wild the most. When a mite attaches itself to a host, they are able to lay eggs and reproduce pretty rapidly. If an animal is not able to get treated for mites, it can end up making the animal quite sick.

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