When a family spotted a lump on their 20-year-old goldfish’s fin, they knew they didn’t have much time.

They noticed the mysterious lump when Bob the fish started swimming backwards and acting strangely.

It was decided they would take their beloved pet to well known-vet Dr Faye Bethell based in Norfolk, England – she had previously operated on a goldfish that had been suffering with constipation.

The vet decided to operate on Bob in a bid to remove the tumour. Most domestic fish do not live over the age of 15, so everybody was concerned for the pet’s wellbeing due to his grand age.

Toll Barn Vets

Toll Barn Vets

The tiny operation took around 30 minutes and cost the family $250- but that was a small price to pay for their life-long pet.

“The option was to remove the lump or put him to sleep and now he is doing brilliantly,” Dr Bethell commented. “Bob’s owners were really pleased because the goldfish is older than their children and he’s very much considered part of the family.”

The vet fed the fish anaesthetics and used a tiny heart-rate monitor and micro-surgical equipment.

 Toll Barn Vets

Toll Barn Vets

“It’s pretty complicated because everything is so small and goldfish don’t have a massive volume of blood so you have to make sure they don’t lose too much blood..” She added: “This one was the oldest fish we’ve operated on… Bob’s now back home and enjoying swimming properly for the first time in weeks.”

“We’ve done several operations on goldfish but this was the oldest we’ve operated on.We keep them wet throughout using their own tank water so they don’t dry out.”

“We are definitely seeing pets living longer,” stressed Dr Bethell. “It’s really nice when you get an owner who wants to save them and great to help.”

 Toll Barn Vets

Toll Barn Vets

This is not the first time gold-fish owners have forked out to save their scaled friends.

In September 2016, Emma Marsh from Brisbane, Australia found that her goldfish Conquer had swallowed a pebble, putting his tiny life in great danger.

Marsh had bought the goldfish, Conquer, for just $12 (less than £10) just one year ago.

The 21-year-old noticed that Conquer was choking on a piece of shingle in his tank, and she immediately rushed him to the Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Service in Greenslopes.

Luckily a vet was able to save Conquer but the overnight stay and anaesthesia set back his owner $500 Australian Dollars.

The vet centre said: “Most people wouldn’t bat an eyelid spending this money on a dog, cat or child, so why would we value our beautiful exotic pets any less.”