Health

Two pet goldfish get surgeries totaling $750

A team of veterinarians in Scotland performed an extremely difficult operation to remove the eye of a pet goldfish.

A team of veterinarians in Scotland performed an extremely difficult operation to remove the eye of a pet goldfish.  (Inglis Veterinary Hospital)

For some people, the price of a pet's health is never too high: A team of veterinarians in Scotland performed a set of operations on pet goldfish that cost nearly $750.

The team — from Inglis Veterinary Hospital in Fife, Scotland — removed the blind, cancerous eye of a goldfish named "Star." They also operated on another fish named "Nemo" to remove a lump. The complex operations, which cost $747 U.S. (500 British pounds), involved an exotic consultant surgeon, a vet to keep the fish anesthetized and a nurse to monitor their heart rates, hospital staff wrote in a Facebook post.

"This is a highly specialist field — using anesthetic on a goldfish carries a very high risk —and I'm delighted for the owner that everything went OK and the owners are happy," said exotic-animals expert Brigitte Lord, according to the post. "The financial value of a goldfish may be quite small, but I think the fact that someone should have paid that much for an operation reflects the true value of the bond between pets and humans." [Photos: Giant Goldfish & Other Freaky Fish]

Abby Gordon, 21, a student in Glasgow, won the fish, named Star, at a fairground stall 12 years ago, by throwing a Ping-Pong ball into a goldfish bowl. (Goldfish have an average lifespan of several decades with the proper diet and living conditions; the world's oldest goldfish lived a whopping 43 years, according to Guinness World Records.) Abby's mother, Jane Gordon, "didn't want Star to be lonely," the hospital staff said, so she bought another fish, Nemo.

When a cancerous growth developed on Star's eye, the owners sought to have it surgically removed.

During the operation, the vets listened to the fish's blood flow by pulsing it using Doppler ultrasound equipment. They kept the animal asleep by spraying it with a syringe containing oxygenated water and an anesthetic.

After the procedure, the doctors kept Star in a bucket of oxygenated water. They held the fish's mouth open and gently moved it around for 8 minutes to mimic a swimming action, before the animal regained consciousness.

Nemo, the fish that shares a tank with Star, had a relatively easy surgery to remove a lump.

This isn't the first time a goldfish has gone under the knife. Last year, a goldfish named George underwent an operation to remove a life-threatening tumor from his head at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

As for Star and Nemo, both fish are now "happily reunited," according to the veterinary hospital's Facebook post. Star is swimming around happily and is getting antibiotics, Jane Gordon said.

"I know it seems like a lot of money to spend on an operation for a goldfish, but what was the alternative?" Gordon said, according to hospital staff. "I think [we have] a social responsibility to look after our pets, and I know my daughter would have been distraught if anything had happened to the goldfish," she added.

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