A cocker spaniel has been saved by an animal charity after he ate a face mask.
One-year-old Ralph underwent emergency surgery at Huyton PDSA in Liverpool to remove the fabric which had blocked his intestines.
Owner Julie Veidman said: “We think he must’ve stolen it from my daughter’s bag in the night. He always had a liking for socks and sometimes knickers too, so we always keep things like that well away from him. We never thought he’d actually eat a facemask.
“PDSA were amazing, they were so quick to respond and so caring – they have literally saved his life.”
Julie first began to notice something was wrong when her dog couldn’t keep water down and refused his favourite treat.
After calling the vet charity for help, she was advised to bring him in for a check-up.
She said: “Walking away from the pet hospital holding his empty lead was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – he’d never been left on his own before.
“Although he’s young and otherwise healthy, I had been made aware of the risks of emergency surgery and I couldn’t help but fear the worst.”
PDSA vet Lizzie Whitton said: “Any type of surgery carries risk, and intestinal procedures can come with additional complications, but thankfully Ralph’s operation went very well. However, we were all shocked when we removed a face mask from inside him.”
Julie turned to PDSA as she had to stop her work as a sale assistant earlier this year, after struggling with abuse from customers during lockdown.
She said: “It was awful and it just became too much, I was really struggling and had to leave.
“So I don’t have any income right now – without PDSA, we would’ve lost Ralph. He’s been my absolute rock through lockdown, I don’t know what we would’ve done without him.”
The charity has seen a surge in demand for its services since the first lockdown in March, as more people find themselves facing financial difficulties.