Dirty Dogs Campaign: This foul mess: Why Amy has lost an eye

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Amy Bowditch, nine today, is blind in one eye as a result of contacting the blood disease toxocariasis, spread by dog fouling. Her mother, Lyn, explains how it happened:

'Amy was three and a half when I first noticed that something was wrong with her left eye. She kept getting infections in it and it was red and itchy. The iris became inflamed. At first they thought it might be a child's version of rheumatoid arthritis, but the tests did not appear to be conclusive. Then about a year later I noticed Amy's eye was wandering. We went to the optician and he said that the back of the eye was black - no light at all was getting through - and that we should go straight to the hospital.

'The hospital told us that Amy had toxocariasis and that the dead larvae had decomposed and caused a cyst behind her eye. They removed the cyst and part of the back of the eye and, for a while, Amy could see colours and shapes, but now she can't see anything. I tried to think of how Amy could have caught it - I had a mongrel when she was a tiny baby but I wormed her regularly. We used to go down to the local park - it's a dog-free area now but not then.

''About a year ago, Amy's eye suddenly started bleeding and the iris went brilliant emerald green. Her healthy eye - the right one - is blue and children called her a witch. It doesn't seem to have affected her school work, but I feel very angry about irresponsible dog owners. We tried to raise awareness locally and filmed dog walkers, asking them if they knew that dog fouling could blind children. A common response was 'Bollocks'.'

Amy's school is supporting the educational charity Community Hygiene Concern, which campaigns for dog registration and more wardens.

(Photograph omitted)

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