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Goldie The Pufferfish Is All Smiles After Her Successful Dental Surgery.

a 5-year-old porcupine pufferfish named goldie eating food being held in her tank for her

It may not seem like we have much in common with fish, but it turns out they need to visit the dentist just like we do sometimes.

Unfortunately for Goldie the porcupine pufferfish, her visit was an emergency. Somehow, her teeth had become overgrown to the point where she was unable to eat.

Pufferfish have teeth, also known as beaks, that never stop growing. The tough food they consume normally shortens them naturally, but at some point, that stopped working for Goldie.

“About three months ago, we noticed her front beak was growing very quickly, even though she was eating cockle in shell every day,” her human, Mark Byatt, said. “We aren’t sure why Goldie’s teeth never really managed to grind themselves naturally, but we knew we needed to get them filed, although we were unsure about how to achieve this.”

It isn’t easy to transport tropical fish, but once Mark realized how much weight Goldie was losing, he did everything he could to get her to Sandhole Veterinary Centre in England.

Thankfully, their veterinary surgeon, Daniel Calvo Carrasco, specializes in exotic fish and was able to quickly determine the kind of procedure this poor pufferfish needed.

They started off by placing some fish-safe anesthetic in her tank. They also oxygenated the water, something that helped her breathe easier and made the times she had to be taken out of the water less stressful for the 5-year-old fish.

“Debbie [veterinary nurse] was able to hold Goldie in a damp towel to prevent her becoming too dry, while also ensuring she was protected if she did trigger her defence mechanism to inflate her body and activate her spines,” Daniel said. “It was during those brief periods out of the anaesthetic water that I was able to use a dental burr to cut through her upper beak and reduce its length by half.”

The surgery was completed in an hour, and Goldie’s recovery time was even faster. After just 10 minutes of being back in fresh water, she was happily swimming around like usual. Better yet, she was back to eating with no problem within two hours!

Going to the dentist can be stressful, whether you’re a human or not. But as nerve-racking as this situation has been, Mark and Goldie couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out!

“We’re just thrilled to have Goldie back home,” he said. “She is thriving back in her tank and none the worse for her visit to the dentist.”

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