Looks like George the goldfish will get to float around its pond and munch on fish flakes for much longer.
Over the past year, the 10-year-old goldfish in Melbourne, Victoria, developed a brain tumor, affecting its ability to eat, swim and even interact with the other fish in his pond, according to KTRK.
"[The] fish was having trouble eating, getting around, getting bullied by the other fish," Dr. Tristan Rich, a veterinarian at Lort Smith Animal Hospital, said according to the outlet.
Dr. Rich offered the fish's owners, Lyn Orton and Pip Joyce, the option of putting the animal to sleep or paying for a life-saving operation to remove the tumor in its head, according to the Herald Sun. The owners, who weren't ready to let go of their beloved pet, opted for the latter. Last week, the tumor was successfully removed from George's head, and Orton says the goldfish could live for another 10 to 20 years.
"It was so impressive, everyone was just amazed," Orton told the Herald Sun after George's operation. "It wasn’t long before I was able to put him back in his pond with his little mates."
Dr. Rich performed the procedure by first putting George in a bucket of water containing an anesthetic, according to the animal hospital's Facebook page. After the goldfish was asleep, the vet began the operation. When the surgery was completed -- and the large tumor successfully removed -- George was given pain relievers and antibiotics, and began swimming again soon after.
While the procedure cost about AU$200 (US$180), George's owners, who have a total of 39 goldfish in their pond, say it was worth it.
"A goldfish is a pet, a family pet, just as important really," Joyce said, according to ABC 13 "They bring a lot of pleasure, these fish in this pond, they're beautiful to sit and watch."
George has since returned to the pond he shares with his other fish friends and is "swimming happily," Dr. Rich told the Sydney Morning Herald.