My Doggy Doctor

(Not Ollie of course. He has no uniform)

It is well known that dogs can detect illnesses in humans.

Here are some examples I found online.

Last week, researchers presented evidence that dogs could tell from sniffing someone’s socks whether they had malaria. After several months of training, a labrador and a labrador-retriever could tell if a child had the disease even if they were not showing symptoms.

Prostate cancer
In 2015, Italian researchers announced that they had trained two German shepherds to detect chemicals linked to prostrate cancer in urine samples. The dogs were correct in 90% of cases, while the standard PSA blood test is not considered reliable enough for screening. There is an ongoing study in Milton Keynes hospital NHS trust that aims to evaluate dogs’ abilities in a normal clinical setting.

Dogs are already used by diabetics to detect when their blood sugar levels are dangerously high or low. A charity called Hypo Hounds trains dogs to smell tell-tale changes on their owner’s breath or in their sweat. The pets can detect a problem earlier than a glucose monitor.

Parkinson’s disease
Researchers at Manchester University are attempting to train dogs to detect Parkinson’s disease years before symptoms emerge. The work is inspired by the work of a human “super-sniffer” who detected a change in her husband’s odour six years before he was diagnosed.

Breast cancer
Dogs are also being trialled at Buckinghamshire healthcare NHS trust for their ability to detect breast cancer. If dogs could detect this form of cancer from a woman’s breath it would allow more frequent screening; currently, women over 50 are screened only once every three years because of the exposure to radiation involved.

Ollie sniffs me intently, any chance he gets. He will also sniff my clothes when I get undressed. If I have a scratch or a cut, even one so small I might not have noticed it, he will suddenly start to lick my leg, arm, hand, or foot as soon as he smells the tiniest trace of blood. It is believed that licking a wound can actually hasten healing. Hence the old saying, ‘licking his wounds’.

Last week, Ollie started to refuse to take any treats from my hand. If I put them in his food bowl he would eat them, and if I gave them to Julie, he would take them from her. But he flatly refused to accept them from my hand, for the first time ever.

Then on Saturday, I was watching TV quite late and wearing a dressing gown. He suddenly got up and walked over to sniff my legs. He was concentrating intently, sniffing very small areas. Soon after, he began to lick both of my shins. He kept doing it so obsessively, I had to stop him and tell him to go and lie down.

On Sunday, I remembered those facts about dogs detecting illness and injury, so examined my legs for any small wounds. I couldn’t find any.

As for illness, I feel fine at the moment, and have no obvious symptoms of anything. But this morning, he still refused his treat from my hand.

Perhaps I should be worried?

Nothing Getting Done

Do you ever have those times when nothing seems to get done? I do, and this is one of them

Day 17 of rain means nothing has been done outside for almost three weeks, unless you count creating a blanket dam to stop the shed flooding completely. I would like to have cleared the gutters, so that they managed the downpours better. But that’s not a very attractive prospect, when you are on the tail end of a bout of Flu, and feel as weak as a kitten.

Even things that can be done inside are not getting done. Remember the expensive camera I got got for nothing from Amazon? Well other than a quick play with it to justify my review, I still have not set it up as I would like. What’s the point? I have no intention of taking it out to photograph rain.

And as some things get fixed, others keep breaking. The printer can wait, as I cannot muster the will to try to fix it. Then Julie took my car out today, and got a slow puncture. I do less than 4,000 miles a year, but the local neglected roads chew through at least two tyres a year on average. Something else to deal with, come Monday.

I could sit and type a list of all the things that need doing; from the simple mopping of the kitchen floor because of trodden in dirt and leaves, to routine paperwork that needs to be sorted out by the end of the month.

But truth be told, nothing’s getting done.

Zombie Pete

Still no news about my Covid test results. I have been refreshing my email screen every ten minutes since yesterday morning, but the queue must be too big for the fast service that Julie received whe she was tested.

Meanwhile, I live life in limbo, like the undead in books about Zombies.

I am not supposed to go out until I know the test result. Julie is not allowed out either, which means she is unable to go to work until we know either way.
If it comes back positive, we wil have another fourteen days like this.

I have to take Ollie out. I cannot ask anyone else to do that, as I am not supposed to contact the neighbours. So I head over to Beetley Meadows, scan for any other dog-walkers, and head in the opposite direction. If anyone spots me and comes my way, I wave at them to turn back. They obviously know why I am doing that, as they immediately turn around or go in another direction.

Whatever is wrong with me is still making it hard to get a decent sleep. After going to bed early, I was awake at five, then struggled to get back to sleep again. I didn’t wake up until 10:45, and stumbled into the unexpected sunshine feeling like the day had already passed me by.

Once back after taking Ollie out, I have no energy to deal with anything around the house, and the afternoon and evening seems to drag, with me wondering how early is ‘too early’ to go to bed. I had been trying to watch films to while away the time, but even that lost its appeal. I get up, walk into another room, stand there for a while, and walk back again.

I hope this is all resolved soon. It’s a strange way to live, and I don’t like it.

Had To Get Tested

After feeling ill with flu symptoms for some time now, I was up all night with a very bad cough, and what felt like a chest infection.

Checking with my doctor to see if I could attend to get antibiotics, I was told that I can only be examined at the surgery if I first have a negative Covid-19 test.

So we got online and booked a test for 4 pm today, in Norwich. Julie drove me there, and we have not long returned. Until the results come back, Julie is not allowed to go back to work, and we are supposed to both self-isolate until either the negative or positive test comes back.

Times are changing indeed, as before I could have obviously had my chest listened to by the doctor, been prescribed suitable medication, and hopefully have been cured within seven days. As it stands now, if the test is positive, I am not supposed to leave the house for fourteen days, and will not be able to see a doctor. That means if it is just a chest infection, then I am going to have to suffer it lingering on for two weeks, potentially.

As a result, I have not been online to look at anyone’s posts, and will not be able to do so tonight, as I need to eat something, and go to bed early.

My apologies for missing out on your blogs, I will hopefully get a negative test result soon, and get back to normal.

Toritto: Frank Scarangello

For anyone who follows Frank’s blog, I have some news.

Frank has suffered a ruptured spleen, and is in intensive care in hospital in Florida.

He was well enough to let me know by sending a blog comment, so it looks hopeful.

I am sure you want to join me in wishing this great member of our blogging community a speedy recovery.

Ollie’s Vet Visit Today

***Another update following Ollie’s illness last week.***

Ollie had to go back to see his regular Vet today. Fortunately, he had a better day yesterday, and didn’t seem to be so distressed. He slept well and was eager to get into the car this morning.

The Vet looked at him in the car first, (social distancing) before taking him inside for an examination. A little while later he returned with a provisional diagnosis. Ollie’s chest and heart were all fine, and his temperature in the normal range. The Vet concluded that he may have developed a reaction to the steroids he is often given to control his skin problems. That reaction is well known, and often causes hyperventilating, and breathing issues.

His advice is to immediately stop all remaining medication, and wait to see if Ollie improves dramatically in the next 48 hours. If he is no better by the end of this week, then he will have to go back for blood tests to try to find out if there is anything more sinister causing the problem. If he makes a full recovery, then it will prove it was the medication, and he will need no extra tests.

So once again, we have a couple of days watching him closely, and hoping for the best.

Ollie Update

As I know so many of you are concerned about Ollie, here is an update on his condition since we had the emergency with him in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The medication he was given makes him extra thirsty, and super-hungry.
He is drinking 4-5 bowls of water every day, as well as what he drinks from the river on his walks. And he is eating like he has never seen food. Anything we put in front of him is demolished in moments.

The breathing problems sadly continue, and are worse at night. After his much shorter than usual walks, he is panting heavily, but relaxes when we get home. However, as soon as it gets late and he is ready to sleep for the night, his breathing changes to hyperventilating, and is still very worrying.

So I have booked him to go back to see the Vet on Tuesday morning, as I want to find out why he doesn’t seem to be getting better.

I will let you know what happens on Tuesday, or if anything changes before then.

Ollie Emergency!

After finishing his course of antibiotics and steroids yesterday, Ollie’s skin was clearing up nicely. But something else was happening. He was beginning to pant a great deal, and seemed to be out of breath after not much exertion. Late last night, that started to get much worse and his respiratory rate increased to over 80 per minute around four times faster than it should be. By 2 AM, he was getting visibly distressed, so the Emergency Vet was called. After telling her the symptoms, she agreed to travel to the surgery in Swaffham, and told us to meet her there.

Luckily there is little traffic at that time of the morning around here, so the journey was quick and easy. With social distancing still operating, she met us in the car park and took Ollie inside to examine him. It was a worrying wait, but when she came back with him she looked relatively unconcerned. She suspected he might be carrying too much fluid from the recent infection, and had given him an injection of Furosemide to make him urinate more often, as well as booster injections of both antibiotics and steroids in case the rapid breathing was caused by a chest infection. There were lots of tablets to take home with us too.

By the time we got home it was close to 4 AM, and time to try to get some sleep. This morning, Ollie is very tired and his breathing is a lot slower, if not quite back to normal. It was the first time since we got Ollie that we have had to use an emergency Vet in the middle of the night.

I hope it’s the last.