TIME animals

This Clearly Beloved Goldfish Got a $500 Life-Saving Surgery

After eating a pebble

Most goldfish live short, uneventful lives. But Conquer — the aquatic pet of 21-year-old Emma Marsh of Brisbane, Australia — is no ordinary goldfish.

The one-year-old little fish received a life-saving emergency veterinary surgery last week when Marsh noticed he was making “excessive mouth movements,” the Courier Mail reports.

It turned out that he had consumed a pebble that was about a fifth of his body length, making it impossible for him to chew, eat, or swallow. Marsh rushed him to the Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service, where some nimble-fingered veterinarians anesthetized Conquer and extracted the pebble with forceps. The fish even got to stay at the hospital overnight; fancy! And he has since fully recovered and is in stable condition, according to Buzzfeed News.

For the service, however, Marsh dished out a full $500, according to the Mail, while Conquer had initially costed $12.

“I treat fish like they’re any other pet,” Marsh told the Mail. A spokesperson for the veterinary hospital noted that it was due to Marsh being so observant that Conquer’s issue was recognized at all.

Conquer isn’t the first goldfish to receive special treatment in Australia recently, either; in 2014, ten-year-old (!) George underwent a rare surgery to remove a life-threatening tumor. That operation, however, only cost $200.


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