Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services
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September 15, 2016 02:21 PM

Fish don’t get enough play in the pet world. Just because they can be won at the fair, doesn’t make them lesser loves.

Upon noticing her little swimmer seemed off, the owner of a ranchu goldfish named Conquer proved this point by rushing her pet to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services in Australia. It turns out Conquer had swallowed a pebble from his tank and was having trouble expelling the rock, reports CTV News.

“It’s certainly not uncommon for fish to pick up pebbles in their tanks, however they are usually able to expel them without any dramas. Conquer’s eyes were obviously bigger than his belly on that day, and it really came down to the fact that his mum is so observant,” the veterinarian told PEOPLE. “Had she not noticed the subtle changes in her pet, he would surely have starved. The procedure was quite quick after Conquer had been anesthetized, and he recovered remarkably well. He is now healthy and happy.”

Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services
Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services

The life-saving procedure to remove the pesky pebble from the fish’s system cost $500 Australian (about $491 USD); a price that has shocked many following the story online. The staff at the vet first gave the fish a physical exam to find the object, then anesthetized Conquer so they could use tiny instruments to carefully open the fish’s mouth and remove the obstruction without causing Conquer any pain.

“While there has been quite a lot of fuss made over the cost of the procedure, we are really just focused on getting a great outcome for the pet, and their worried owner. 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? Many people struggle to respect the bond a person can have with their bird, guinea pig, reptile or fish until they have kept these creatures themselves,” the vet added.

A pet is a pet, no matter how small. And as any animal lover would attest, when your pet is sick, you do whatever it takes to make them well again.

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