Vets urge public to dispose of face masks safely after dog’s lifesaving surgery

A pet charity has urged the public to properly dispose of face masks after a dog needed emergency life-saving surgery after eating one that was thrown away.

Becky Hammerton took her three-year-old Cockapoo Milo to the PDSA Pet Hospital in Bournemouth, Dorset after seeing him ate the mask entangled around a bone.

After the animal was examined and x-rayed, the vets told Ms. Hammerton that surgery was the only way to save Milo’s life.

“The x-ray showed that the nasal wire attached to the mask was in Milo’s stomach,” said Aoife Clancy, senior veterinarian for the PDSA.

“We didn’t want to induce vomiting because there was a risk that this wire could have pierced his stomach or esophagus.

“But since the mask didn’t seem to pass naturally, he had to undergo surgery to remove it before any potentially fatal complications could arise.

“Fortunately, the life-saving operation to remove the potentially fatal waste was successful and Milo was released the next day to fully recover at home.”

Urging the public to ensure that masks are disposed of safely, she added, “Unfortunately, this is not the first time our vets have seen pets who have eaten discarded PPE.

“These items can be very harmful to pets and wild animals when consumed, as they not only run the risk of developing life-threatening blockages, but gastric or intestinal damage can lead to sepsis and death.

“We urge everyone to dispose of their PPE responsibly, but there are also things owners can do to reduce the risk of pets eating things they shouldn’t.

“Training your dog with a simple command such as ‘leave’ or ‘fall’ is the best way to ensure that you don’t avoid mishaps while walking.”

Ms. Hammerton, 26, who has since set up a PDSA fundraising page, said, “Milo has made a good recovery, he was treated very quickly and the vets and vets at Bournemouth PDSA have been fantastic, helpful and incredibly caring.

“I’ve read numerous stories about dogs eating masks since Milo’s incident, but I never thought something like this would happen to Milo as he’s usually very good at dropping things on command.

“However, the smell of the bone may have made him react differently this time.

“It was horrible, but the PDSA veterinary team was great and it could have been a different story without them, and that’s why I’m raising funds for PDSA. We are so grateful for her help in saving Milo’s life and other sick and injured pets. “

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