Animal hospital at Tufts University has seen about a dozen dogs for eating face masks
Face masks are helping keep people safe during the COVID pandemic but they are posing a risk to dogs.
The Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University in Grafton said they have seen about a dozen dogs that have eaten face masks, some of which have needed emergency surgery.
Catherine Stecyk, a surgeon and resident at the Foster Hospital said she could see the “fitted nosepiece of a face mask” using x-rays on King, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever.
“We took King to emergency surgery, where I felt two wads of material,” said Stecyk. “One was stuck in the stomach and extending into the beginning of the small intestine, causing it to bunch up, and the other one was a bit farther down the intestine. The intestine was inflamed and bruised, but not yet traumatized to the point of perforation, which was really lucky.”
The 2-year-old Lab was able to make a full recovery, but Stecyk warns dog owners that it could’ve been a lot worse.
“Face masks are pretty new to daily life for most of us,” said veterinarian Elizabeth Rozanski. “Some dog owners may be used to their pet being OK after eating a greasy paper towel or pooping out a sock. However, they need to know that cloth masks and the medical-grade paper masks don’t dissolve that quickly, and the ties or ear loops can lead to a dangerous linear obstruction.”
The animal hospital warns owners to keep masks out of reach, discard masks properly when outside the home and contact a veterinarian immediately if your dog does eat a mask.