ERIC the goldfish can swim happily again after going under the knife to remove a tumour from his jaw.

The six-year-old pet was treated at Great Western Exotics veterinary practice in Greenbridge after his owner became concerned about the large growth in his mouth.

The surgery took 30 minutes to perform and was undertaken by Dr Tariq Abou-Zahr.

The exotic animal enthusiast and zoological specialist explained: “Eric was anaesthetised using a special fish anaesthetic placed in water.

“He was immersed initially to send him to sleep, then a tube was placed in his mouth to allow delivery of anaesthetic and water over his gills throughout the procedure.

He added that the team used electronic forceps to control Eric’s blood loss during the operation.

“We then used radio surgery and very fine surgical instruments to remove the tumour beneath his jaw,” said Dr Abou-Zahr.

“The tumour was sent away to be analysed and thankfully was benign, although quite locally invasive – meaning there is a chance it will return.”

Eric is an orange oranda goldfish, a breed that has a bubble-type hood on its head called a wen.

But Eric’s wen had grown over his eyes, blocking his vision. During the surgery to remove his tumour, Dr Abou-Zahr also trimmed it back to help Eric to see again.

He said operating on a fish isn’t an unusual event.

“I do see the occasional fish, we probably operate on one fish every six months,” he said. “Fish are pets like any other animal and it’s nice to get an owner that is willing to give them the best care and attempt to get them sorted when they are poorly.

“I’ve actually only performed this kind of operation three or four times before.

“It’s a shame that a lot of people don’t realise that we can actually do so much to treat fish nowadays. People just tend to discard them when they are poorly.”

Asked what the most peculiar operation he has ever performed on an animal, the doctor said: “I’ve helped to remove a large screw from an eagles stomach, that was quite strange.”

He added that Eric has recovered well from his surgery and is back swimming in his tank. Orandas originated in Asia and can live between 10 and 15 years.