With another doctor administering anesthetic and a nurse on hand to keep an eye on heart rates, the attending surgeon in a hospital in Scotland recently pulled off two complicated operations in the same day. The team's patients: a pair of pet goldfish who both had cancer, LiveScience reports. The total cost for both procedures: $750. Their owner's reaction: priceless. "I probably couldn't have chosen … better vets," Janie Gordon said in a Facebook post from the Inglis Veterinary Hospital in Fife. "I'm not sure anyone else would have attempted it." The surgeries were for Star, a fish won at a local fair 12 years ago who needed to have a cancerous eye taken out, and Nemo, Star's "lifelong companion," who required a more "straightforward" operation to remove a lump.
Nothing about Star's surgery sounds straightforward, though. According to the blog post, the vets kept track of blood flow using specialized ultrasound equipment, and put Star to sleep by pumping oxygenated water with anesthetic into the fish via a syringe. Someone then had to hold Star in a bucket of oxygenated water with the fish's mouth pried open until it started showing signs of life again. "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," Brigitte Lord, the exotic-animals consultant who performed the procedures, says in the post. For Gordon, the $750 was cash well spent: "I know it seems like a lot of money to spend on an operation for a goldfish, but what was the alternative? I think we've a social responsibility to look after our pets." (A constipated goldfish recently got a $465 surgery, while an Aussie goldfish got brain surgery for $200.)