A little over a year ago we were given a mated pair of Fennec Foxs. We took them to our vetrinarian Dr. Dan Meakin for care and assesment. We managed to get them into good health and they were adjusting to their new home. We were also told that the female was know to eat her young after a day or two. In the wild Fennec Fox mothers will do this out of instinct when afraid or their den site is in danger. It is believed they do this thinking they are protecting them. They will also do this if they determine that the baby(s) have a problem with their health.
Many have asked why would we let them breed if this is a known issue. Although hard for some to understand we have a logical reason. The parents are 8 and 9 years old which is just a few years from the average lifespan. At this age it is very risky to their health to have them spay or nuetered. We will not seperate the pair as they are strongly bonded together and seperation could also cause health issues. We decided to simply let nature do what it was going to do.
We saw first hand in April of 2015 of this unfortunate act of the mother after she did in fact give birth to two young kits.
After witnessing the event in April we decided that if they did breed again we would take the babies and try to hand raise them ourselves. In August they indeed had another 2 kits that we found immediately after she had given birth. Taking no chances we removed the two young kits from the mother. The mother was then sedated and the kits returned to allow them to nurse for about a half an hour. This was an attempt to get as much of the mothers colostrum in them prior to us taking over. Once removed we began feeding the kits a special formula every two hours around the clock for the next 20 days.
Both kits seemed to be doing good, growing and eating well, and were named Roscoe and Libby. During week two it became apparent that Roscoe was having an issue with his right front leg. This soon appeared over time in all of their legs. Numorous proffesionals were contacted to determine what was going on. In the end it was determined that both kits were suffering from Twisted Leg Syndrome. This syndrome causes the legs and bones to develop incorrectly. Euthinasia was the last resort although was recommended.
Roscoe began getting weak after week two and quickly progressed downhill. Everything we could do for him seemed to have no effect so it was determined that in his best interest that we whould let him go. We did not wish for him to suffer so we took him to All Creatures Animal Hospital where Dr. Dan Meakin humanely euthinized him. It was a loss but he did try and hang on for two weeks and he will be missed.
On the opposite end of the scale was Libby. Libby was showing no signs of weakness or being ill. In fact she was very energetic for her condition and growing extremely well. Libbys front two legs were very awkward in appearance and her back two simply looked broken and twisted. Kara Hartnady decided that Libby would be able to get around if she could get her back legs working. With this in mind she twisted and taped both legs in the proper positions and then secured both legs under her body for the next two weeks. This could not be done with the front legs as their position and way they had formed would not allow it. After removing the restraints on Libbys back legs, it appeared and was a success in returning her back legs to the correct positions.
The video above shows Libby as of October 2016 deciding what to play with, a stuffed green bone, a sock and a toy mouse. She has adapted well to her awkward front legs and does not seem to let them stop her. For now her front legs will remain the way they are. She needs constant attention on her left forearm as she uses that for running and walking. It will develop sores if not watched. There are possible ways that may potential help her front legs work slightly better, but for the cost associated and her current ability to move around just fine, we see no reason to at this time.
Libby is a true inspiration and example of what can be accomplished if you never give up on things just because they're hard.