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Paul O'Grady reveals his kidneys started to fail after contracting a near-fatal virus while playing with injured street dogs in Delhi for new TV show

Paul O'Grady has revealed he had a close brush with death while shooting for his new ITV series For The Love Of Dog: India.

The TV star, 62, has filmed two special episodes of his hit show, which has been airing since 2012, on the streets of Delhi, but has toldThe Mirror he was struck down with a near-fatal virus.

Paul reveals his kidneys started to shut down after hours of vomiting, following his refusal to stop playing with some of the 400,000 dogs living on the streets of Delhi.

Brush with death: Paul O'Grady has revealed he had a close brush with death while shooting for his new ITV series For The Love Of Dog: India

Brush with death: Paul O'Grady has revealed he had a close brush with death while shooting for his new ITV series For The Love Of Dog: India

'Getting ill was my own fault,' he told The Mirror. 'They said to me, “Keep off the streets, it's Delhi”. But I was lying in the gutter with these two gorgeous little puppies.'

'I'm feeding them by hand and flicking maggots out of a rat bite, and of course I must have touched my mouth or my face – you forget. When you work with animals, you're not squeamish.'

Paul confessed that he was vomiting for hours until at 10pm a doctor was called and he was taken to hospital due to severe dehydration and feeling delirious.

For the love of animals: The TV star, 62, has filmed two special episodes of his hit show, which has been airing since 2012, on the streets of Delhi, but was struck down with a near-fatal virus

For the love of animals: The TV star, 62, has filmed two special episodes of his hit show, which has been airing since 2012, on the streets of Delhi, but was struck down with a near-fatal virus

'When I got in there, they said your white blood cells are going berserk, you're heading for renal failure,' he explained. 

Kept in hospital overnight, the Blind Date presenter was pumped with antibiotics and saline, but despite medical advice to stay in for two more days, he discharged himself so he could get back to work.

As well as the infection, the fearless star also risked contracting rabies during filming in November after handling a sick puppy while the entire crew faced a worrying wait to see if they had a tapeworm infestation.

Medical emergency: Paul reveals his kidneys started to shut down after hours of vomiting, following his refusal to stop playing with some of the 400,000 dogs living on the streets

Medical emergency: Paul reveals his kidneys started to shut down after hours of vomiting, following his refusal to stop playing with some of the 400,000 dogs living on the streets

For The Love Of Dogs: India airs its first episode on April 26, and Paul has already confessed he's desperate to go back to Delhi to do further work with the charities looking out for the street dogs.   

But he admits his family, including husband Andre Portasio, would rather he didn’t go back.

Paul has battled a series of health problems, including two heart attacks and in 2013 revealed he had 12 stents in his heart to help blood flow.

'My fault': 'Getting ill was my own fault,' he told The Mirror. 'They said to me,

'My fault': 'Getting ill was my own fault,' he told The Mirror. 'They said to me, “Keep off the streets, it's Delhi”. But I was lying in the gutter with these two gorgeous little puppies.'

‘My heart is more tin than flesh,’ he joked. ‘Whenever I go for treatment I tell the doctors, “It would be far easier just to put a zip in me.” After two heart attacks I’m now happy to get through the day.’ 

The beloved presenter has previously admitted he doesn't worry about his health, pointing out:  ‘The worst thing you can do is to sit and fret. I take tablets and have check-ups every eight months when they put me on the treadmill. I say to them, “Heart attack or not, I’m hopeless on treadmills!”.’

Both his parents died of heart disease, and he has joked: ‘When hearts were handed out in our family, they gave us the job lot of pokey old ones.’ 

Coming soon: For The Love Of Dogs: India airs its first episode on April 26, and Paul has already confessed he's desperate to go back to Delhi

Coming soon: For The Love Of Dogs: India airs its first episode on April 26, and Paul has already confessed he's desperate to go back to Delhi

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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