Wolf Injuries & diseases

Wolves suffer from a variety of injuries and diseases. From common diseases like mange to parasites like ticks and fleas. They also suffer injuries in the wild.

Wolf Injuries

Wolves can get injuries from large prey animals that defend themselves, when the pack attacks a large moose or bison they can receive injuries from kicks and if the prey had antlers or horns it can cause a lot of damage. Wolves can be trampled under the hooves, Artist George Catlin reported an 1844 attack on a buffalo by a pack of wolves in which two of the wolves had been crushed to death under the hooves of the animal.

Man also causes injuries to wolves, leg-hold traps, illegal hunting, wolves being hit by cars (rare), poisoning (one wolf was known to die from drinking from a antifreeze spill on the road).

Other wolf injuries are caused by falls from rock ledges, drowning in swift rivers, fights with other wolves (territory disputes or near mating season), attacks by bears, infections from porcupine quills. In Denali National park in Alaska two wolves were killed in an avalanche.

Diseases and Parasites

Wolves are susceptible to more than one hundred diseases and parasites, including roundworm, tape worm, flatworm, mange, mites, ticks, fleas, distemper, cataracts, oral papillomatosis, tularemia, bovine tuberculosis, arthritis, cancer, rickets, pnumonia, Lyme disease, and many other ailments.

External parasites tend to be less of a problem in the cold northern regions


Mange is caused by tiny mites that attach themselves to a wolfs fur or skin, In Sarcoptic mange, intense itching is caused by the female mites' burrowing under the skin to lay eggs. In demodectic mange, the mites live in the pores of the skin and cause little or no itching. The symptoms of mange include skin lesions, crusting, and fur loss. Wolves that suffer mange in the winter are in danger of freezing to death.


Canine distemper is a very contagious disease caused by a microscopic virus. The disease is often centers on the skin, eye membranes, and intestinal tract, and occasionally the brain. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, and a discharge from the eyes and nose. Diarrhea and dehydration may follow, in the final stages seizures may occur.


Contrary to popular myth, rabies is very rare in wolves. This was not the case a century ago. Most rare cases today are cause my contracting the disease from skunks, raccoons, bats, or foxes. (Ninety-eight percent of rabies today in North America is from them)