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Nova Scotia fox pups on the mend after suspected poisoning

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A Nova Scotia wildlife rehabilitation centre is sharing a cautionary tale for people who may use mouse or rat poison.

A few weeks ago, Hope For Wildlife received a call about three fox pups in Cape Breton who were very sick.

The animals were showing serious neurological symptoms – they were seizing, lethargic, tremoring and unable to stand.

One died on the way to the centre’s Cape Breton drop off clinic.

The other two are now being treated at the main Hope For Wildlife facility in Seaforth, N.S., and are showing signs of improvement.

“Our doctor feels the prognosis is good for the two remaining ones. We’re thinking it’s probably rat poison but we’re not sure, we will be doing more tests to find out. The one who passed has been sent away for a necropsy,” says Hope Swinimer, the founder and director of Hope for Wildlife.

Swinimer says the centre sees many cases involving sick animals that could be related to poisoning.

“It’s really sad because people need to stop and think that if you put out poison it affects everything in our ecosystem. There’s been a lot of studies done where the liver’s been examined on animals who have passed away and it shows anywhere from 50-to-90 per cent of rodenticide in the liver of especially the birds of prey,” she says.

Swinimer adds there are there are many “wonderful ways” to control populations aside from poison.

“Of course the number one way is to really take care of your garbage and make sure you don’t leave any food outside – this is incredibly helpful so that you don’t attract too many rodents and then that attracts other wildlife,” she says. “So if you don’t want wildlife visiting you, keep a really clean and spotless property.”

Swinimer hopes the two surviving fox pup will make a full recovery so they can be released back into the wild.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul DeWitt.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. 

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