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Goldfish Goes Under the Knife for Tumor Treatment

Image: Dr. Tristan Rich operates on a goldfish named George
Dr. Tristan Rich operates on a goldfish named George at Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia on Sept. 11, 2014. Courtesy Lort Smith

When a 10-year-old goldfish named George developed a tumor, its owners did something many would consider a bit extreme: they decided to have it operated on.

The goldfish underwent a surgery last week to remove a tumor protruding from the fish’s head. The surgery was conducted by Dr. Tristan Rich, head of the exotic and wildlife veterinary team at Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. To prepare for the surgery, Rich had George swim around in a bucket of water laced with anesthetic to knock him out, the hospital explained in a Facebook post.

Once George was asleep, the doctor inserted a tube into the fish’s mouth to wash a lower dosage of anesthetic water over its gills. Rich removed the tumor and sealed the wound with four stitches.

At the end of the surgery, George was given painkillers and put into a “recovery unit”: a bucket of regular water where he started swimming around soon afterward. “The surgery went swimmingly and George has now returned home with his loving owner,” the hospital wrote on Facebook.

A spokesperson from Lort Smith told NBC News the surgery cost about $300 and, despite how unusual it seems, it’s not the first of its kind.

— Jillian Sederholm