Australian Vet Removed a Brain Tumor From a Goldfish Named George

The BBC is reporting that a goldfish in Australia is now recovering from a successful surgery in which a tumor was removed from its brain.

Dr Tristan Rich, who carried out the operation, told Melbourne's 3AW radio station that the fish was now "up and about and swimming around".

Vets say the 10-year-old fish is now expected to live for another 20 years.

"George had a quite large tumour on the top of his head that was growing slowly, and it was beginning to affect his quality of life," Dr Rich from the Lort Smith Animal Hospital said.


The anesthetized fish was kept alive during the surgery by passing water through its gills, the same way that you've no doubt seen researchers on TV documentaries keep sharks happy while they collect skin samples and attach GPS transmitters.

On their Facebook page, the Lort Smith Animal Hospital explained how you conduct a surgery on a goldfish:

Dr Tristan Rich, head of Lort Smith's exotic and wildlife vet team, set up three buckets – one with a knock out dose of anaesthetic, one with a maintenance level of anaesthetic, and one with clean water as the recovery unit.

Once George was asleep, Dr Tristan ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated, into George's mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anaesthetic washed over his gills.

Dr Tristan worked quickly to remove the large tumour, although the size of it meant that he had to use a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding during surgery. The size of the wound meant it was difficult to seal, so Dr Tristan put in four sutures then sealed the rest of the wound with tissue glue.

Once that had set, George was placed in the recovery unit and given oxygen. He was given injections with long acting pain relief and antibiotics. Soon afterwards he took a couple of breaths on his own and started swimming around.


The surgery cost just $200 and lasted 45 minutes. Dr. Tristan described the procedure as "fiddly."

[BBC News]

Photos by Nicole Dorling, via Lort Smith Animal Hospital on Facebook.

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