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A Doctor Writes – Contagious?

“Dear Doctor, is a smallholding contagious?” writes a worried reader.

I am often asked this question and the answer is “no”, however recent medical research suggests that the condition could be genetic.

The symptoms often manifest themselves in later rather than earlier life and can cause considerable stress to the sufferers family even though the victim themselves show few outward signs of the illness and appear relatively normal.

If you are worried then these are some of the common danger signs to look out for… an inordinate interest in poultry diseases and a desire to talk about them at mealtimes. This is often followed by a sudden and exspensive interest in poultry housing and if untreated can often lead to a painful swelling of the overdraft.

Another common symptom is an unhealthy, almost obsessive, devotion to the thoughts and teachings of Alan Titchmarsh. This can be fairly serious as it may lead to what Doctors call the Greenhouse Effect which, if it remains untreated, will develop into full-blown Greenhouse mania which is very difficult to control. Families of sufferers often have to resort to the Plastic Card Withdrawl Treatment… drastic but usually effective.

The patient is also prone to developing unpleasant and often painful rashes… poultry rash, resulting from the rash buying of hens; pony rash which is similar but more exspensive; rescue rash stemming from a desire to rescue various unsuitable animals with major psychoses and a tendancy to bite.

Support groups do exist but they seem not to be effective in helping distressed families.

The patients themselves are believed to meet in secret locations, presumably to discuss their symptoms. Medical science is not yet able to tell whether this helps or exacerbates the condition.

In the next issue I hope to deal with the problem of sheep worrying and how you can stop doing it.