Goldfish Surgery Saves George

An Australian animal hospital has revealed how it saved the life of George the beloved goldfish who had a tumour on the top of his head.

So how exactly do you perform an operation on a fish?

Dr Tristan Rich revealed all on the Lort Smith Facebook. He heads up the centre’s exotic and wildlife veterinary team, and performed the successful micro-surgery on the fish.

 They used three buckets, “one with a knock out dose of anaesthetic, one with a maintenance level of anaesthetic, and one with clean water as the recovery unit”.

“Once George was asleep, Dr Tristan ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated, into George’s mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anaesthetic washed over his gills.”

The vet then extracted the tumour, using a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding before sealing the wound with tissue glue. Because of the size of the wound, George was also given four stitches.

The facility added: “Once that had set, George was placed in the recovery unit and given oxygen. He was given injections with long acting pain relief and antibiotics. Soon afterwards he took a couple of breaths on his own and started swimming around.”

The vet told an Australian radio station that the 45 minute procedure cost a couple of hundred Australian dollars. The goldfish’s owner was given the choice between putting him to sleep and giving him the operation, and the goldfish is now expected to live another 20 years.

“For the owners, it's not about having a fish, it's about having this fish,” Dr Rich said. “If you have a pet, regardless of what it is, then you have a responsibility to look after it as best you can.”  

The facility has said that they’re always amazed at how Dr Tristan finds a way to help every animal, no matter how ‘ordinary’ they may be.