“Clean up after your dog so others don’t lose their sight” - says Collier Row woman
A Collier Row woman had her eye removed earlier this year 30 years after catching an infection caused by dog mess.
Nadine Nash now wants to alert pet owners to the dangers of not clearing up after them, and is also running the London Marathon to raise money for a blind charity.
The 34-year-old was diagnosed with toxocariasis when she was a primary school pupil at St Edward’s in Romford.
She said: “I don’t know exactly how I caught it, but I believe it was when I was out in a park.”
The infection is caused by ingesting a parasite found in dog, cat or fox faeces. If the parasite’s worms spread to the eye, as in Nadine’s case, they can cause permanent damage.
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Nadine explained that children are particularly at risk because they often touch things out of curiosity and don’t always wash their hands afterwards.
She said: “It’s a rare infection, but it was even rarer in those days. I lost a lot of sight in one eye, I was in hospital and then had to have regular check-ups.
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“For about 20 years I didn’t have any problems, but about 10 years ago I started getting really bad glaucoma.”
Nadine had to have several operations on her eye, but none of them made much difference and her sight got even worse.
“In May I couldn’t take it anymore I was so ill from it and in so much pain. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was begging the doctors to do something about it.
“I couldn’t focus my other eye and I thought it was going wrong as well.”
The Victoria Avenue resident said that when doctors told her they were removing her eye earlier this year it “was actually a relief”.
Nadine was inspired to tell her story after reading in the Recorder that the clean-up of dog mess was being encouraged in Havering.
She said: “Just walking around Collier Row you see a lot of it. I don’t think people realise how much of a health risk it is.
“If another child were to get the infection, it would be terrible, because it can be avoided if people just pick up after their dogs.”
Nadine is now training for the London Marathon to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
She said: “People wouldn’t really expect me to be run a marathon – there was a time when I was so ill that I couldn’t even get out of bed.”
To sponsor Nadine visit: www.justgiving.com/Nadine-Nash.