Puffer recovers from eye surgery


A puffer fish at Bristol Zoo is recovering after an operation to remove an eye.

Mini has been a resident of the aquarium for eight years and is very popular with guests. But she developed a cataract and a painful swollen eye.  

"We had to move quickly to help Mini," says Jonny Rudd, Assistant Curator of the Aquarium. "The eye was very swollen so it became apparent she was going to need an operation. The intricacy of the area meant it was also apparent it would need to be done out of the water."

Maintaining anaesthesia in a fish out of water can be challenging, as it involves constantly passing medicated water over the gills of the fish and keeping the skin wet.

It took a little while to prepare Mini for surgery by adjusting the concentration of anaesthetic in the water but the procedure itself went very well.

The veterinary team managed to remove the eye in an operation that lasted one hour. Once the anaesthetic had worn off Mini was returned to a tank behind the scenes where she was given antibiotics and lots of treats, including mussels in shells and her favourite - shore crabs - over the course of a month.

Mini is now back in her tank and swimming happily.

"The lack of eye doesn’t seem to bother her," continues Jonny. "The guests still love her and often ask about how she’s doing. She’s an important part of our aquarium family so it’s great to see her settled and doing so well."

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.

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