Thrapston woman's warning after cockapoo ate dumped face mask

Three-year Patch needed urgent veterinary treatment

Patch the cockapoo, pictured right during his procedure. Credit: My Family Vets/Abington Vets
Patch the cockapoo, pictured right during his procedure. Credit: My Family Vets/Abington Vets

A Thrapston woman has urged people to bin their face masks after her beloved pooch ate one which had been dumped.

Three-year-old cockapoo Patch is thought to have wolfed down a discarded mask left on the ground while on a walk, but thankfully is okay.

His owner, Sue Fox, said they didn't even know he had eaten it at first, initially taking him to a vet after he didn't bring up a sock he had taken from their tumbledryer.

She has urged people to make sure they put their mask in a bin rather than being "thoughtless".

She said: "We have absolutely no idea where Patch picked it up but since it happened, I've been looking for them and I can see up to 10 each time we go for a walk. People just chuck them down when they've finished with them rather than put them in a bin.

"It's so thoughtless and dangerous. I know Patch isn't the only one this has happened to. It's been really upsetting for me and I've actually lost weight with worry about his health, but I know of other owners whose dog have needed surgery.

"The masks have gone through their systems and really put their lives at risk. Patch is always looking for things, so we have to scan the ground and have even changed where we walk. I know we all need to use face masks at the moment, but people just need to think when they are finished with them."

Patch was referred to Abington Park Vets in Northampton, where vets realised it was not just a sock he had eaten after spotting a piece of metal.

Vet Riccardo Minelli said: "Because we were told it was a sock, we were expecting to try and remove that, hopefully without needing surgery.

"But when we took a radiograph to check the position, we could see there was a piece of metal.

"That didn't make sense for a sock but as it was still accessible in the stomach, we were able to go in with an endoscope which has a camera. We pulled it out along with the sock and when we untangled it, we found it was a disposable face mask.

"The metal was where you could adjust it around the nose. It was really unexpected and we had no idea how long it had been in the stomach."

A number of vets have reported cases of dogs ingesting discarded face masks or other PPE such as plastic gloves in the past few months, prompting vets and animal charities to issue warnings.

Vets remain open during lockdown and you should seek help if your pet needs it.