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Photo gallery: Amazing £300 operation by North Walsham vet on constipated goldfish

PUBLISHED: 11:02 01 January 2015

The goldfish is anaesthetised via a tube while a tiny heart-rate monitor is used to check its response. Picture: SUBMITTED

The goldfish is anaesthetised via a tube while a tiny heart-rate monitor is used to check its response. Picture: SUBMITTED

Archant

A man was so fond of his constipated office goldfish that he paid a north Norfolk vet £300 to operate and ease its suffering.

Vet Faye Bethell used tiny instruments to remove one lump close to the fish’s anus, and another from its dorsal fin.

The fish-lover had taken the sick, three-inch pet for a consultation at North Walsham’s Toll Barn Veterinary Centre, according to Miss Bethell, 29.

At first he had baulked at the price quoted for the treatment and went away. But he had returned five minutes later and asked for it to go ahead.

Goldfish, which can be bought for less than £3 each, can live up to 10 years. The ailing fish, which has made a full recovery, was two years and 10 months old at the time of its operation.

Fishy facts

■ Goldfish, which can be bought for less than £3 each, can live up to 10 years.

■ Goldfish have a memory-span of at least three months.

■ Goldfish can grow more than a foot long, but can be stunted by being kept in tanks too small for them and where the water quality is poor.

■ Goldfish have no eyelids, so they have to sleep with their eyes open.

■ Goldfish have been kept as pets for more than 2,000 years.

■ The collective noun for goldfish is a “glint” or a “troubling”.

The delicate procedure, which lasted about 50 minutes, involved introducing a carefully-measured anaesthetising agent into the fish’s water.

As it lost its balance, it was removed from its tank and placed on a waterproof drape. The anaesthetic water was then introduced into its mouth via a tube and bubbled over its gills, through which it breathes.

Using a miniature heart-rate monitor, Miss Bethell checked that the fish was properly “under” before using a mini scalpel to remove the lumps.

She then sewed each cut with three stitches, finally using a special “glue” to cover and waterproof the fish’s scales before it was gradually re-awakened.

Working with some weird and wonderful creatures

Taking lumps off goldfish is all in a day’s work for vet Faye Bethell, who spent one morning this week castrating a skunk.

Cadbury, the chocolate skunk, had been brought in for the snip by his Scratby Garden Centre owners.

Since opening Toll Barn vets’ a year ago, specialising in exotics, Miss Bethell has performed a varied range of operations. They include:

■ removing a skin tumour from a two-inch long hognose snake, which weighed just 12g;

■ taking out a stone from the 5mm-wide ureter of a guinea pig, at a cost of about £600, including post-op care;

■ treating sugar gliders (a gliding possum) for a poor diet, and a degu (a large rat-like rodent) for diabetes;

■ removing an air-rifle pellet from a Mundesley cat, discovered lodged under its skin during its routine booster jab check;

■ working with wildlife rescue groups to save an injured sparrowhawk. Miss Bethell pinned its broken wing. It has since been successfully released into the wild;

■ spending Boxing Day operating to remove a corn on the cob, which had got trapped in a dog’s intestines, as well as making a puppy vomit after it had eaten its owner’s pills.

“There was nothing special about the fish. He just liked it a lot. People love their pets – but that was an expensive little goldfish,” said Miss Bethell, who spent Tuesday morning castrating Cadbury the skunk.

The Toll Barn practice opened a year ago and specialises in exotic animals, as well as the more usual pets.

The past 12 months have also seen Miss Bethell remove a skin tumour from a two-inch long hognose snake which weighed just 12g.

She has successfully taken out a stone from the 5mm-wide ureter of a guinea pig, at a cost of about £600, including post-op care.

Sugar gliders (a gliding possum) have been treated for a poor diet, a degu (a large rat-like rodent) for diabetes and a cat from Mundesley, which was being examined as part of its annual booster jab check, was discovered to have been shot by an air-gun pellet, which she operated to remove.

She also recently helped wildlife rescue groups save an injured sparrow hawk by pinning a broken wing, so that it could recover and be released.

“It’s been an absolutely brilliant year with lovely clients and lovely animals,” said Miss Bethell, who spent Boxing Day operating to remove a corn on the cob which had got trapped in a dog’s intestines, as well as making a puppy vomit after it had eaten its mistress’ pills.

“It’s exceeded my expectations,” she added.

“I can’t believe the variety we have had.”

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