In a world filled with stories of the disposable treatment of goldfish, it's refreshing to come across one where these often abused fairground fodder and pet shop staples are given the level of care most pet owners would not think twice of affording their cat, dog or rabbit but might baulk at providing for their aquatic pet.
George the 10-year-old goldfish had a tumour on his head that was growing rapidly, to the extent where it was affecting his quality of life. George’s owners who live in Melbourne, Australia, contacted the Lort Smith Animal Hospital to see if anything could be done for their beloved goldfish and were offered two choices: a risky $200 (£125) operation or to simply put George to sleep to prevent further deterioration and suffering.
They opted for the former and Dr Tristan Rich duly carried out the tricky 45-minute operation.
George was kept alive throughout the procedure with the help of three buckets; one with a knockout dose of anaesthetic, one with a maintenance level of anaesthetic, and one with clean water as the recovery unit. Once fully sedated in the first bucket, George was moved to the operating table where a tube from the second bucket, which was being oxygenated, was placed into his mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anaesthetic washed over his gills.
The size of the tumour meant that a gelatine sponge was needed to control the bleeding during surgery and the resulting large wound was difficult to close and required four sutures as well as tissue glue to seal it. Once the glue had set, George was placed in the recovery bucket and given oxygen as well as injections with long acting pain relief and antibiotics. George soon came round again and started breathing independently before swimming around and is now safely back home with his owners.
Lort Smith Animal Hospital is Australia’s largest not for profit veterinary hospital, providing high quality veterinary care at a reduced cost for the pets of people in need as well as shelter services for injured, surrendered and abandoned pets.