In the hands of a less skilled surgeon, the patient could have ended up being flushed: After a 45-minute operation that a veterinarian in Melbourne, Australia, describes as "fiddly," a life-threatening brain tumor was removed from a goldfish named George last week, the BBC reports. On its Facebook page, the Lort Smith Animal Hospital explains how Dr. Tristan Rich knocked George out by putting him in a bucket of anesthetic-laced water, removed the tumor, and then sealed the wound with sutures and tissue glue. The 10-year-old fish is now swimming around again and could live for another 20 years, the animal hospital says.
The fish's owner was "quite attached" to the pet and decided to pay $200 for the surgery instead of having him put to sleep after he was starting to "really suffer" from the tumor and couldn't swim or eat properly, the vet tells the Sydney Morning Herald. The vet adds that the main cost was the anesthetic and the procedure would have cost about the same for a dog or cat. He says he has only performed goldfish surgery around 10 times in his career, but "every day I'll do something different like this—operate on a little frog, or treat budgies, lizards, snakes, and wildlife." (Another tricky bit of surgery at an animal hospital: pulling 43-and-a-half socks out of a Great Dane's stomach.)