A UK grandmother died from a rare infection after she was licked
on the hand by her pet dog. 53-year-old Sheena Kavanagh went into septic shock, a serious
condition that occurs when a body-wide infection leads to dangerously
low blood pressure, suddenly after being licked on the hand by her
Sources say that because Kavanagh's spleen was removed in 1988,
her body was unable to prevent the bacterial infection.
Kavanagh reportedly began to feel sick while working back in
April, and very shortly, the infection got worse.
She was rushed to hospital where medics suspected
she had bacterial meningitis but the results were not clear.
Despite being prescribed antibiotics, Kavanagh
sadly died from the infection. Doctors are now publishing a study on
Kavanagh's case because it is extremely rare.
"She had antibiotics in the hospital which worked on the
bacteria but unfortunately the damage was already done," said
pathologist Dr. Hiam Ali.
"Her blood was full of bacteria and organisms. Capnocytophaga
canimorsus, an organism present in dog saliva, normally doesn't cause
damage. But in people without a spleen it can cause death due to
septic shock. But it is extremely rare," Dr. Hiam Ali said.
Kavanagh's daughter says she was shocked to learn that her
mother had died from a freak incident that's so rare.
"It was a shock as she had been around dogs all her life. She
loved all animals. She had two Yorkshire terriers, a long haired Jack
Russell and six horses. She was brilliant, a devoted nan and my best
friend rather than my mum. I saw her almost every day. She loved her
job and everyone misses her dearly. There is a massive part of our
family missing," said Kavanagh's daughter, 27-year-old Melissa
The coroner's official ruling on the cause of the woman's
death was "splenectomy and dog saliva in bloodstream."