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

·2-min read
Milo the cockerpoo is recovering after emergency surgery to remove a facemask he had eaten (PDSA/PA)
Milo the cockerpoo is recovering after emergency surgery to remove a facemask he had eaten (PDSA/PA)

A pet charity has called on the public to dispose of face masks correctly after a cockapoo needed emergency life-saving surgery after it ate one which had been discarded.

Becky Hammerton rushed her three-year-old dog Milo to the PDSA Pet Hospital in Bournemouth Dorset after she spotted it eating the mask which was tangled around a bone.

After the pet was examined and X-rayed the PDSA vets decided surgery was the only option to potentially save Milo’s life.

Milo the cockerpoo is recovering after emergency surgery to remove a facemask he had eaten. (PDSA/PA)
Milo the cockerpoo is recovering after emergency surgery to remove a facemask he had eaten. (PDSA/PA)

Aoife Clancy, senior vet at PDSA, said: “The X-ray showed that the nose wire attached to the mask was in Milo’s stomach.

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

“But as the mask didn’t seem to be passing naturally he needed surgery to remove it before it could cause any potentially fatal complications.

“Thankfully the life-saving operation to remove the potentially lethal litter was successful, and Milo was discharged the next day to recover fully at home.”

Calling on people to ensure masks are thrown away safely, she added: “Sadly this isn’t the first time our vets have seen pets who have eaten discarded PPE.

“These items can be very harmful to pets and wildlife if eaten, as they not only run the risk of developing life-threatening blockages, but damage to their stomach or intestines could result in sepsis and death.

“We’re urging everyone to dispose of their PPE responsibly, but there are also things that owners can do to help reduce any risk of pets eating things they shouldn’t.

The face mask removed from Milo’s stomach. (PDSA/PA Wire)
The face mask removed from Milo’s stomach. (PDSA/PA Wire)

“Training your dog with a simple command such as ‘leave’ or ‘drop’ is the best way to ensure you can prevent any mishaps while out on walks.”

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

“I’ve read numerous stories of dogs eating masks since Milo’s incident, but I never thought it would happen to Milo as he’s normally very good at dropping things on command.

“However, the scent of the bone perhaps made him react differently this time.

“It was awful but PDSA’s vet team were amazing and without them it could have been a very different story, and that’s why I’m fundraising for PDSA. We’re so grateful for their help saving Milo’s life and other sick and injured pets.”

To donate to her fundraiser, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/milo-pdsa

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