However, Dr Lertrat Ekasathapornsakul, director of Na Yong Hospital, said yesterday that the paediatrician in Trang Hospital insisted that the child did not have any dog hair in her lungs, adding that the death had resulted from a severe lung disease. He said the rumour that the girl had died from playing with dogs might have stemmed from a misunderstanding.
The parents said the child played with some 10 dogs and a monkey since she was three, adding that she had developed a rash on her arms and legs and kept scratching while playing with the animals.
Unable to stop their daughter from playing with the dogs, some of which were suffering from mange, the parents moved eight of the canines elsewhere, leaving only two dogs and the monkey behind.
In May, the child developed a bad cough and high fever, so the parents took her to Na Yong Hospital, where the doctor said she had an ulcer and medicated her accordingly.
When her condition did not improve, they took her to the hospital for the third time and the doctor diagnosed her with severe lung disease and sent her to Trang Hospital on May 21.
After 15 days in hospital, the child was discharged. On July 7, she developed a high fever and a severe cough and was not able to swallow food.
She was pronounced dead on July 12, the parents said.
The couple also called on other parents to beware about letting their children play with dogs that are not clean or are sick.