The Sarcoptic Mange mite’s activity causes the skin to react and this intense pruritus causes the animal to bite and scratch constantly, self inflicting open wounds and secondary bacterial infection often follows. All the scratching and biting opens the burrow and once the female mite is exposed she dies. The eggs and faecal debris left behind continue to cause pruritus which in turn causes more self mutilation, more females to die, more pruritus, more self mutilation etc etc.
This intense irritation is often made worse by heat. A fox suffering from mange will often act abnormally. It’s fear for humans often appears lost. It will walk around almost aimlessly during daylight hours constantly biting and scratching at the irritation. Always on the move and unable to rest for long periods, many of the affected foxes will be dehydrated, often observed drinking for a duration of minutes as opposed to seconds. In most cases the mange starts at the rear end and the great majority of foxes will have one leg off the ground, due mainly to the self inflicted open wounds causing apparent soreness to the back end.
If the mite infestation in addition to the secondary bacterial infections and the dehydration wasn’t bad enough, many foxes will also suffer some degree of conjunctivitis. In four months an untreated fox is likely to be dead.