The dog is ill though - he has leishmaniasis. This nasty disease is a parasitic infection that comes from the no-see-ums that fly around in clouds over stagnant water (there's an obliging pool in our nearby dry river bed). These midges bite on the ankles in humans, without causing much more damage than a passing itch, but they appear to be mortal for most dogs in my barrio (not all, my last hound managed to bark at the neighbours for twenty two years before death took her).
My dog has the disease, and a vet recently discovered a medicine that keeps the infection in check - it's a pill that humans take against gout called Alopurinol. He's managed over a year now on one of these pills crushed daily into his doggybix and seems to be doing well on the diet.
Gout is a nasty little complaint. It's like a tiny piece of gravel behind the bone in one of your extremities. I looked it up on the Internet after my toe turned red, started to hurt and swelled up. Too much brandy apparently. I was limping around shouting blue buggery, taking a whack at any child or animal that came to close to me and wondering whether to go and see the doctor. But then, I thought, what about the dog's daily dose!
So, here we are. The dog and me are sharing the same box of tablets. One for you my dear and one for me.
Ahh, that's better.