Planet Earth

Fish surgery. Yup, it's a thing.



Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news


When it comes to premier veterinary care, the first image that often springs to mind is surgery performed on a beloved dog or cat. But dogs and cats are not the only pets to receive this level of care: fish can undergo surgery, too! Such procedures require specialized treatments, including waterborne anesthesia. And if you are wondering what sorts of procedures are most common, wonder no more! This paper outlines the surgeries most often performed on fish, many of which are familiar to all pet owners, including removal of tumors, retrieval of swallowed items, and fertility treatments. There are also procedures that more fish-specific, such as the insertion of radio transmitters for tracking wild fish. We just hope they don't try to slap on a band-aid after all that!

Fish Surgery: Presurgical Preparation and Common Surgical Procedures. "Fish surgical procedures are commonplace in aquaria, zoos, laboratory facilities, and pet clinical practice. To incorporate fish surgery into a clinical setting, an understanding of anatomic differences between mammals and fish, bath anesthetics, and recirculating anesthesia techniques must be developed; a system or different size systems to accommodate anesthesia and surgery of particular species of concern at an institution or practice constructed; and familiar mammalian surgical principles applied with some adaptations. Common surgical procedures in fish include coeliotomy for intracoelomic mass removal, reproductive procedures, gastrointestinal foreign body removal, radiotransmitter placement, and integumentary mass excision." Related content: Self-surgery: not for the faint of heart. A foot needs a nipple like a fish needs a bicycle. Intense dead fish smell proven no excuse for not working.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.