That’s about what it cost to save the $12 pet’s life last week when goldfish Conquer swallowed a large pebble while scooping up food from his tank.
Emma Marsh, 21, of Kuraby, said she rushed her one-year-old fish to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service in Greenslopes after she saw him ingest the pebble and start choking.
“I treat fish like they’re any other pet,” she said.
Veterinarian Emma McMillan said even she was surprised by the size of the pebble Conquer swallowed.
“He is 13g and only 5cm long,” she said. “The pebble was about 8 or 9mm long and was stuck lengthways across the side of his mouth, which is why he couldn’t spit it back out.
“He was making excessive mouth movements trying to dislodge it … if we did nothing he would have starved to death.”
Dr McMillan and her team dripped anaesthetic into Conquer’s water until the goldfish fell asleep, and then tilted his mouth slightly out of the water in order to place forceps into his mouth to dislodge the stubborn pebble.
Ms Marsh said the emergency consultation cost more than $100, with another $400 for the anaesthetic and overnight hospital stay, but Conquer was now doing fine.
The current price of 18-carat gold is about $41 a gram, meaning the cost of saving Conquer is about the same as a 13-gram 18-carat “gold” fish would have cost.