The life of a tiny 16-year-old goldfish was saved recently in an operation to remove a large mass from its stomach.
Gianlucca was anaesthetised and taken out of the water for the complex surgery which was performed by one of Ireland's only fish experts Marta Posim-Kosmowska and her team of nurses.
During the operation at Shenick Veterinary Centre in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, the treasured goldfish was regularly flushed with a syringe of water and oxygen to keep him alive during the process.
The goldfish has made a full recovery after the removal of the mass on May 24th but it's not the first fish that veterinary surgeon Marta has operated on in her eight years at the surgery.
The 39-year-old vet specialised in the field of fish diseases and exotic animal medicine in her native Poland in 2013 and admits to always having a fascination with fish.
"I think Gianlucca is a boy but it is not easy to distinguish gender in goldfish," she said.
"The owner rescued him from questionable conditions and believes he is about 16 years old. I have treated him before but this time, surgery was needed after the owners noticed a lump that was getting bigger in his belly.
"The operation was definitely my most difficult one as I had to open up his belly to take out the mass but thankfully, it was a success.
"During the operation, the fish was out of water so my experienced team of nurses and I had to regularly use a syringe to administer water and oxygen to him under anaesthetic. He is doing great thankfully. Goldfish can live up to 35 years of age so hopefully, there are many more years left in him."
"Goldfish are prone to skin cancer so I have removed lumps from the outside of fish before and I had to remove an eye which had turned malignant.
"I was always interested in fish even from a young age and remember saying to my parents that I will only become a vet if I can be a fish doctor," she laughed.
"I concentrate on ornamental and tropical fish and over the years, I have volunteered in the Aquarium of Warsaw Zoo as a student and worked for six months in the biggest Irish aquatic shop Seahorse Aquarium after moving to Ireland in 2014.
"Fish are a lot more intricate because of their size but they have organs like all other pets. A lot of people can't believe that I treat goldfish, because so many are used to them dying in a few months and then being replaced but for some people, goldfish that live years can be as much a part of the family as a dog or cat," she added.