George the Goldfish Swims After Lifesaving Surgery

The 45-minute surgery to remove a life-threatening tumor cost $200.

— -- A goldfish in Australia is swimming in its tank only days after undergoing a life-threatening surgery to remove a tumor from its head.

The goldfish, named George, was brought into the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne, Australia, last week after its owner noticed it wasn’t swimming or eating properly.

Dr. Tristan Rich, head of Lort Smith’s exotic and wildlife vet team, oversaw the surgery last Thursday that included putting the goldfish under anesthesia and using tissue glue to sew it back together again.

Instead of the operating table and recovery room used for human surgery, and even most pet surgery, the Lort Smith staff set up three buckets for George: one with a full dose of anesthesia, one with a maintenance level of anesthesia and then a clean bucket of water that served as the recovery room.

“Once George was asleep, Dr. Tristan ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated, into George’s mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anesthetic washed over his gills,” the clinic said on its Facebook page. “Dr. Tristan worked quickly to remove the large tumor, although the size of it meant that he had to use a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding during surgery.”

Once George was in the recovery tank, the clinic posted on Facebook, he was given injections for pain relief and antibiotics and quickly began breathing on his own.

Lort Smith officials, who could not be reached today by ABC News, told the Sydney Morning Herald, that George’s owner is a woman who is “quite attached” to the fish and willing to pay the $200 price of the surgery.

The 45-minute surgery on George was the 10th time Rich has performed a similar goldfish surgery in his career, he told the Herald.