Melbourne vet saves life of Bubbles the Goldfish by removing brain tumour

A veterinarian has performed an unusual surgery to save the life of a nine-year-old goldfish suffering a brain tumour.

Dr Tristan Rich of Melbourne’s Lort Smith Animal Hospital performed the incredible surgery to remove the tumour from Bubbles, with hopes of the fish being able to return home to his loving owner.

Dr Rich took on the challenge to save Bubbles. Photo: Lort Smith Facebook
Dr Rich took on the challenge to save Bubbles. Photo: Lort Smith Facebook

But the surgery wasn’t an easy one with Dr Rich first having to figure out how to perform surgery on a fish out of water.

Dr Rich set up three buckets of water, two with varied doses of anaesthetic and another with clean water for the recovery unit.

Photo: Lort Smith Facebook
Photo: Lort Smith Facebook

“Bubbles went for a swim in the bucket with knock-out anaesthetic and once he was asleep, we ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated into Bubbles’ mouth so the water washed over his gills,” Dr Rich said in a post on Lort Smith’s Facebook.

Bubbles preparing for surgery. Photo: Lort Smith Facebook.
Bubbles preparing for surgery. Photo: Lort Smith Facebook.

“We worked quickly to remove the tumour and sealed the wound with tissue glue,” he said.

Fortunately the surgery was a success and Bubbles went straight into recovery.

“Once that had set, Bubbles was placed in the recovery unit and given oxygen. He was also given injections with long-acting pain relief and antibiotics,” Dr Rich said.

“Soon afterwards he took a couple of breaths on his own and started swimming around.”



Bubbles is a much-loved goldfish and a big part of his family.

The animal hospital uploaded a video of him swimming around happily post-surgery.

Goldfish can life up to 30 years so his owners hoped he still had many happy years ahead.

It’s not the first time Dr Rich has rescued a goldfish before, the vet became a bit of a local hero when he rescued George the goldfish in 2014.

His efforts have seen an increase in goldfish patients to the animal hospital.

Lort Smith is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on community members to continue their life-saving work.

To donate to support their work click here.


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