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Dublin: 14°C Sunday 17 October 2021

Goldfish recovering after undergoing high risk brain surgery

The vet said he had to be careful that the goldfish didn’t lose more than half a millilitre of blood.

goldfish 2 Source: Nicole Dorling/Lort Smith Animal Hospital

A GOLDFISH IN Australia is recovering after a tumour was removed from its brain in what was described as “high risk” surgery.

George the goldfish, who is ten years old and described as “much-loved”, underwent the surgery several days ago and is recovering well at home in Melbourne.

The goldfish’s owner had been left with two options after the tumour appeared on George’s head: either have it operated on or have the fish put to sleep.

“She [the owner] was dedicated enough to give it a go,” said Dr Tristan Rich, the vet who performed the delicate operation.

George was knocked out with anaesthetic for the 30-minute procedure.

goldfish Source: Nicole Dorling/Lort Smith Animal Hospital

“It was quite fiddly, as you can imagine, and you have to control any blood loss. You can only lose half a millilitre,” Dr Rich told radio station 3AW.

Obviously it was high risk but everything went well in the end.

But how do you operate on a fish?

The Lort Smith Animal Hospital where the procedure was carried out posted a helpful explanation on its Facebook page.

It involves three buckets – one with a dose of anaesthesia which can knock out a goldfish, a second with anaesthetic to keep the fish unconscious, and the third with clean water to act as a recovery unit.

bucket Source: Nicole Dorling/Lort Smith

Once George was knocked out, Dr Tristan Rich ran a tube from the second bucket into George’s mouth.

He worked quickly to remove the tumour, using a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding. The wound was difficult to seal, so the vet put in four sutures and then sealed the rest of the wound with tissue glue.

Once it had set, George got to go to the recovery unit and was given oxygen, painkillers and antibiotics.

recovery Source: Nichole Dorling/Lort Smith

It wasn’t long after the operation that George took a few breaths on his own and started swimming around.

How much money was involved? The animal hospital said the costs involved totalled “a couple of hundred dollars”.

And before you get too cynical about the whole thing, bear in mind how attached people can get to their pets.

“Everyone forms bonds to pets in different ways and it is not up to us to distinguish between species,” said Dr Tristan Rich.

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