Most goldfish live short, uneventful lives. But Conquer — the aquatic pet of 21-year-old Emma Marsh of Brisbane, Australia — is no ordinary goldfish.
“Conquer’s eyes were obviously bigger than his belly on that day,” Madeline Rienecker a veterinary nurse at Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services in Australia says.
Luckily, Conquer’s mom was observent.
“Had she not noticed the subtle changes in her pet, he surely would have sᴛᴀʀᴠᴇᴅ,” Rienecker said.
With ᴀɴᴇsᴛʜᴇᴛɪᴢᴇᴅ, some gloves and a tiny instrument, the vets were able to get a hold of the small, jagged rock and ʀᴇᴍᴏᴠᴇ it from the 13-gram goldfish’s mouth.
It turned out that he had ᴄᴏɴsᴜᴍᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴘᴇʙʙʟᴇ that was about a fifth of his body length, making it impossible for him to chew, eat, or swallow. Veterinarians ᴀɴᴇsᴛʜᴇᴛɪᴢᴇᴅ Conquer and extracted the ᴘᴇʙʙʟᴇ with forceps. The fish even got to stay at the hospital overnight; fancy! And he has since fully recovered and is in stable condition.
People were surprised to find out the life-saving surgery cost nearly $500. But the veterinary clinic is standing by the goldfish owner’s decision to take action.
“While there has been quite a lot of fuss made over the cost of the procedure, we are really just focussed on getting a great outcome for the pet, and their worried owner,” Rienecker said. “Most people wouldn’t bat an eyelid spending this money on a dog, cat or child, so why would we value our beautiful exotic pets any less?”
Conquer isn’t the first goldfish to receive special treatment in Australia, either; in 2014, ten-year-old (!) George underwent a rare surgery to ʀᴇᴍᴏᴠᴇ a life-ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴɪɴɢ ᴛᴜᴍᴏʀ. That operation, however, only cost $200.
The exotic veterinary clinic sees the bond pet owners share with birds, guinea pigs, reptiles and fish every day. So, they say, it shouldn’t come as a shock that people would step up to save a pet fish.
“You really get out of these guys, exactly what you put in,” Rienecker said.