No masking the problem as emergency vet case highlights threat to pets

A Village Vet in London has highlighted a ‘2020’ danger to pets after treating a dog who had swallowed a handful of face masks.

Victoria Henry, head vet at Village Vet in West Hampstead, has spoken out after treating a case of a puppy after it ingested three face masks.

Benedict, a six-month-old sprockador, needed emergency surgery to remove the masks, and Victoria now wants to ensure it remains an isolated case by raising awareness of the dangers of disposable face masks.

Victoria explained: “This is a very ‘2020’ scenario because of Covid-19, and it’s important for both pet owners and the general public to be aware of the danger.

“We’re urging everyone to be extremely careful with how they store and dispose of their face masks.

“They need to realise these masks pose a double risk to pets because they not only have sharp wire inside, they also act as linear foreign bodies.

village vet emergency case

“Benedict was brought to us because he was vomiting and had a reduced appetite.

“He was sent for X-rays which showed some radio dense foreign objects, raising suspicions of wires in face masks, in both the stomach and small intestine, and an ultrasound scan confirmed gastric and intestinal obstruction.

“He was taken straight to surgery where he required a gastrotomy and two enterotomies to remove three foreign objects.

“A whole face mask was found causing an obstruction in the stomach, another whole face mask in the jejunum was acting as a linear foreign body with plication and bruising of the gut, and a further sharp piece of wire was found in the duodenum.

“Luckily, the gut was healthy and viable, there were no perforations or signs of peritonitis due to leakage of gut contents.

“Benedict was carefully monitored overnight and recovered so well he was discharged two nights later.

“He’s just been given the all clear at his post-op check-up and is happy and healthy again, however, we hope his experience acts as a warning for everyone – pet owners and the general public.”

Village Vet is part of Linnaeus and has practices across London, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire which pride themselves on providing the highest quality of care for pets.

For more information about Village Vet and advice for pet owners, visit

Find out more about Linnaeus practices here.