Chemotherapy Usually Intended for Dogs is Treating Fox Diagnosed with Lymphoma

Dr. Chris Fulkerson, clinical assistant professor of veterinary medical oncology, treats Joker, a silver-phased red fox, at the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)

In West Lafayette, the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital and Wolf Park are collaborating to treat an eight-year-old silver-phased red fox undergoing treatment for lymphoma. The wolf, whose name is Joker, resides at Wolf Park, a nonprofit conservation facility located in nearby Battle Ground, Indiana. Dr. Christopher Fulkerson, clinical assistant professor of veterinary medical oncology, hadn’t previously worked with a fox patient and he and his team couldn’t find any literature about this type of lymphoma in foxes, so they’re treating Joker based on a protocol often used for dogs with lymphoma. Purdue says Joker is responding well to chemotherapy and after a few weeks of treatment, his lymphoma is in partial remission.According to Dr. Fulkerson, Joker’s behavior is similar to that of a dog. He is as wild as possible at Wolf Park but is social and trained for medical procedures. “He’s a really laid back fox. He’s a sweet guy to work with. He’s a great animal ambassador,” said his handler, Kimber Hendrix. Joker has been at Wolf Park since 2015, when he was rescued after being found under a porch. Purdue says his personality – accompanied with a knack of playing practical jokes on his den mate Scarlette – makes him a favorite among visitors. Here is a link to see more photos and read the full story.